Boundaries can include a host of things and can make us feel comfortable. Like Peter stepping out of the boat, however, we can free ourselves from our own limitations. What boundary does the Lord want you to cross?
ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES by Sally Bair
When my children were young, I bought a small aquarium, which we filled with several goldfish and other tiny fish. The kids felt sad when, one by one, the fish died. Our at-home set-up reminded me of the temperature-controlled conservatory in St. Paul, Minnesota’s, Como Park near the house where I grew up. Whenever my twin sis and I visited, we enjoyed watching the goldfish that swam in the conservatory pond. Unlike the tiny goldfish my kids and I raised, the Como Park goldfish grew quite large.
Many species of fish grow as large as their environment provides. If I had transferred the goldfish in our little bowl to a larger one, they would have grown proportionately larger. Any living thing that is boxed in, so to speak, will live a relatively stunted life. And that includes humans. When children are not allowed to explore their territory—whether physically, mentally or emotionally—their growth becomes hindered. Adults closely controlled by others also tend to live a stifled life.
God wants us to be healthy in all areas. When we eat nutritious foods, our bodies grow healthy. The ways in which we deal with stress allow us to grow emotionally. Intellectual growth comes by learning new things. And when we step out in faith, we grow spiritually.
God shows us ways, through His Word and Spirit, to step out of our self-serving boxes and into His limitless realm of love and obedience. Adding our own boundaries often stems from lack of trust, which results in our spiritual growth being hindered. For instance, we may feel God nudging us to take a short-term mission trip … visit nursing home residents … invite a neighbor to our Bible study. We can jump at the chance or we can decide we can't afford it, are too young, too old, not qualified or too scared. Any excuse can become a boundary, a box, that will prevent God from working through our lives.
Our choice, instead, should be to break out of the goldfish bowl we've allowed ourselves to live in and expand our boundaries to the size of an ocean. Then we'd have lots of room to grow. Then we'd be free to meet any new challenge. Then we'd grow as spiritually big as God would like.
"And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, 'Oh, that you would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory …'" (1 Chronicles 4:10)
Lord, thank You for opportunities to grow in Your will. Forgive us for the times we feel too scared, too unsure or too uncomfortable to step out of our proverbial boxes. Enlarge our boundaries, our territory, so we can serve You better. In Jesus' name, amen.