If you haven’t read Part 1 of “Did Jesus Have Boundaries”, click here.
Back to the main topic: Did Jesus have boundaries?
Jesus was the Son of God sent with a very specific mission. In Luke 4:18-19, Jesus reads from Isaiah:
The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
It’s all about identity!
He knew who He was and He fully understood the purpose for which He came. Because of this, Jesus not only had boundaries, He absolutely needed them!
If we do not have a strong sense of identity and purpose, we will not see the need for boundaries. If we do not understand that we are children of God with value and purpose, we will allow others to define us. We will be controlled by the needs, desires, thoughts, and words of others.
Let’s look at some instances where Jesus utilized boundaries due to His sense of identity and purpose.
Here is a list of examples from the book of Matthew alone. Be sure to click on that link before you read on.
The amazing thing I notice about Jesus’ life is that, during his ministry, He was not tossed around from one person’s need to another. He wasn’t controlled by the questions, traps, and plans of the religious leaders.
Jesus wasn’t moved by need; He was moved by His compassion.
He only did what He saw His Heavenly Father doing.
There were times Jesus could have succumbed to the needs, whims, and desires of others and He would have ended up an earthly king (John 6:15) or even dead before His time (Matthew 12:15). Jesus was in control of His life, which He willingly submitted to the Father (not to man), even to the end when He freely gave up His life.
If Jesus had lived His whole life being controlled by others and then eventually dying by the hands of others, He not only wouldn’t have fulfilled Father God’s purpose, but His death wouldn’t have been a willing gift. If Jesus didn’t willingly give His life, that means it was taken from Him. His authority over His life–taken! At that point, it ceases to be a gift.
Here’s my main point:
Jesus had a purpose for His life and death that no one could distract Him from. His sense of identity and purpose from Father God was so strong that no one could throw Him off course.
Haven’t you had times in your life where you’ve had to say “no” to things–even good things–because of your goals?
In college, I had to say “no” to staying up late. I had to say “no” to hanging out with friends sometimes because I had homework to finish.
As a parent, I say “no” to things that would cause me to neglect my responsibilities to my children.
As a wife, I say “no” to other men. I even have to say “no” to my children to prioritize time with my husband.
In all these areas, I have boundaries, but I’m not being “rude” or “selfish”. Although, at times I’ve had some people become offended over my priorities. Oftentimes, the people who are hurt and offended are people I care about, but I have to remember that I’m not responsible for their reactions.
The Hard Part
I suppose that’s one of the hardest part about sticking to your boundaries: Sooner or later, someone is upset. We can err on the side of taking responsibility for their feelings and end up making decisions just so those people won’t be angry with us. This is actually sinful as we’re concerned more for what people think than what God thinks. If God is calling you to do something, it’s best to obey even if people are offended (remember all the times Jesus offended others!).
We can also err on the side of apathy or not caring at all what others think. When my family and I left Alaska, it was a tricky balance. God was calling us to something new, but I know that many people would be hurt and sad with our departure.
I’m thankful for the friends I had who were able to be honest with me. They let me know how excited they were for us, but they also let me know how sad they were to see us leave. It was bittersweet. Although they were sad, I didn’t allow their emotions to change our decision, but I also didn’t invalidate how they were feeling. I listened to them and empathized with how they were feeling. Plus, I was feeling the same way!
Friends, boundaries are not easy. But they are necessary to those of us who understand our God-given identity and purpose. There are times when boundaries are obvious and straight forward, but then there are other times when it’s not so cut and dry. Sometimes our boundaries hurt and offend others unintentionally. We can empathize with them while still allowing God to lead and direct us.
During times of confusion, it’s easy to be swayed by the thoughts and feelings of the people around us. These are the times to press into Jesus so that His words overpower all others’. Jesus set the example for us.
Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” John 5:19
For more on boundaries, I recommend the following:
The “Boundaries” series by Henry Cloud and John Townsend
“Keep Your Love On” by Danny Silk
“The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene Brown
“Rising Strong” by Brene Brown
For more boundaries resources from Godinreallife.com, click here!
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I agree-I have set up a lot of boundaries, now that I am older. I do not have boundaries on compassion and serve as I can-but I make no apologies for deciding who I am with-or where I am. I love everyone, but that doesn’t mean I need to spend my energy with every one.
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Great post! I didn’t learn about boundaries until a few years ago. If I had know about them when I was younger, I sure would have avoided a lot of grief.
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Same here! It’s just been in the past few years that I’ve learned about and implemented them. Growing up in a Christian home, I was raised to believe that boundaries were wrong. I’m so thankful for all the recent work by Henry Cloud, John Townsend, and others on the subject.