Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Respecting the Boundaries


A pilot flying an approach in clouds is faced with the “decision altitude”, where he must make the decision whether to continue the approach to a landing or break off the approach and go to another airport. In order to continue the approach he must visually see the runway. If he does not see the runway when he is at the decision altitude, he must break off the approach. The decision altitude is the minimum altitude that the pilot can descend to without visually seeing the runway. That minimum altitude represents the boundary below which the pilot is not to descend without visually acquiring the runway. The minimums for an approach are lifesavers for the pilot. They prevent him from flying the airplane into the ground in a situation where the fog or clouds descend to the runway.

Boundaries are very important in the kingdom of God for us. God, in His love for us, has given us boundaries beyond which we are not to transgress without incurring damage or discipline. Some boundaries are very clear and generally known, such as the 7th commandment: "Do not commit adultery". So many marriages have been demolished and lives deeply wounded by one partner in the marriage committing adultery. But God made it clear that is what would happen; He clearly defined the boundary we were not to cross. Adam and Eve crossed a boundary God had set when He said: "You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil". They transgressed that boundary and brought spiritual death into the world. We are still suffering from that transgression today.

You and I have more subtle boundaries set by God in our businesses. Your business is probably different, but our business is a black hole for time. It will consume all the time I can give it, and then cry for more. God set a boundary for me when He said "you need to go home at 5:30, no later than 6:00". That ended most late nights at the business. To my shame, I admit that I have transgressed that command a few times. And God has arranged for me not to accomplish anything of significance in that extended time.

There other boundaries He sets for us: He may forbid us from borrowing money, but rather insist that we trust Him to provide. He may tell us to not do business with a particular supplier or customer, because they are unscrupulous and He knows it would injure the business. He may tell us to not be in the office alone with an unmarried employee of the opposite gender.

The important thing is to respect the boundaries He sets for us. We need to continually study Scripture to identify boundaries of importance. We need to spend time alone with Him so He can impress upon our hearts other boundaries specific to us or to the business. His love for us is amazing and overwhelming (just look at the cross) and so we can trust His boundaries to be an expression of His love. But he gives us the freedom to disobey and cross the boundaries. That transgression can cause us and others great harm. Respect and trust His boundaries.

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