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3 Spiritual Boundary Stones to Leave in Place

Photo of Debbra StephensDebbra Stephens | Bio

Debbra Stephens

Transplanted in the South from her home state of Michigan, this suburban mom-of-two loves her Lord Jesus and His wonderful Word. A dedicated student of the Word, she loves to share what she learns in the classroom, at events, and on the page—dependent upon the ever-faithful Holy Spirit to turn thoughts to text. Debbra has authored four Bible studies, all published by 21st Century Christian Publishers in Nashville, Tennessee. She launched the series Advent Living Books for her seasonal daily devotionals in 2018. Debbra blogs at her website and has been published in Christian Woman Magazine.

Boundary stones were a serious business to the ancients. And to God. They were used as property markers to define ownership. Once a boundary stone was set, it was not meant to be moved. Not without a fight, anyway.

But is there a spiritual application for us today? Are there “boundary stones” the Lord has set for our discipleship?

To answer those questions, it is first beneficial to determine where these markers are set. Only then can we recognize if they have shifted and our spiritual well-being has been compromised.

I’ve identified three types of spiritual boundaries we are often tempted to realign. And the spiritual battle required to keep them unmoved. They are worth fighting for—because a moved stone, when it’s not where it belongs, can cause you to stumble.

Boundary Stone 1: Ownership

God is a jealous God. His name is Qanna, Jealous (Ex 34:14). He desires the whole heart of those who belong to Him. But we tend to give pieces of our heart away. There are two influences that attempt to move this boundary and steal away what should be wholly God’s.

  • Influences without. External influences are a proven danger historically. Rivals, left among the Israelites, were competitors for their allegiance to God and inevitably drew them away from Him to worship idols. The Christian today is just as susceptible to external influences that compete for sole allegiance to God. We, too, must rid our hearts of those things around us that battle to possess that which rightfully belongs to God alone.
  • Desires within. This boundary is marked by the cross, for we have been crucified with Christ (Gal 2:20). And it is guarded by the Spirit. As we allow the Spirit to work within us, we are made able to deny self. Further, by that same Spirit, we battle to rid our hearts of every counter-kingdom vice that allows our desires to move its boundaries.

The world without, and our fleshly desires raging war within, are dangerous enemies attempting to divide and conquer our hearts. Our whole being belongs to God. We cannot serve two masters. For then we portion smaller parcels to multiple allies. The boundary stone of ownership, stamped “Wholly His,” must remain firmly intact and in place.

Boundary Stone 2: Identity

The second boundary stone in danger of being moved is the one that defines who God says we are. God has bestowed upon those in Christ a formidable identity. He has declared that we are chosen, loved, blessed, forgiven, redeemed, and adopted (see Eph. 1:3-8). It is not for another to change what God has ordained and decreed. We have inherited an identity that was won by Christ on the cross. We have further been given the Spirit as a guarantee of that inheritance.

If God calls you His child, then that is what you are! That is one stone that should not be removed. The world will try to redefine who you are and the Deceiver will certainly make every attempt to rob you of that assurance. He whispers lies which erode truth. The battle to be fought is the one against discouragement. It frequently comes when we listen to that old, repeated message, “You are merely a product of your culture.” However, no one causes me to forget my true identity more than I do—often purely by distraction. Of course, it is also possible to swing this stone too far in the opposite direction—by making too much of self and too little of God. Pride easily puffs up, leaving us to gloat in vain conceit.

To keep this boundary firmly in place is to remain grounded in truth and intentionally remembering what God has said about our identity in Christ. A daily stroll in the Gospels will keep this stone from getting rolled around.

Boundary Stone 3: Actions

The Christian is not marked merely by a stone, but by the Rock, Jesus Christ. He has established the boundaries regarding the way we are to live. And that boundary is engraved “Holy.”

The Pharisees were guilty of moving this boundary stone when they would redefine the standards of holiness by their man-made traditions. “Law-keepers” today try to budge boundaries the Lord set by asking, “Did Jesus really say__________________?” (A blank filled in by current shifting trends of contention.)

The expectation of our Lord for His disciples doesn’t change. He commands we love God and love others. When this marker guides our decisions, loving actions follow. To live out this principle in an abiding relationship with Jesus perfects holiness within us, as we mature to all the fullness of Christ Jesus.

Boundaries of this nature are good for our discipleship. Recognizing them in our lives also helps us to keep from moving them in other disciples, as well.

Keeping the Stones in Place

I have been guilty of two possible offenses: either moving such boundaries myself or allowing our spiritual enemy to do so. I have found that the best way to keep God-ordained boundaries in place is in practicing spiritual disciplines. Doing so is to live purposefully and faithfully within the healthy boundaries Jesus has put in place.

The first place to start is to immerse yourself in the Gospels daily. Through the teachings of Jesus, you discover those boundaries regarding ownership, identity, and walking in love. And you will become aware when they are in danger of being moved.

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