If you read any of the articles in my latest series, you may wonder why I’m so vocal about setting boundaries and speaking against things many people consider harmless fun. Maybe you think I’m just one of those fun-squashing Christians who delights in strict rules. Maybe you even think I joined a Christian cult. While I am much more conservative than I used to be, I assure you I haven’t joined a cult that chants scripture and plots ways to bring misery upon all. In this post, I hope to provide clarity about the perspective from which I write and explain how that perspective motivates my passion for adhering to moral boundaries.
Let’s clear up a few things. I do not write as a “perfect” Christian who enthusiastically follows all the commands in the Bible. I do not write as someone who grew up in a conservative Christian home where everything was off limits. I do not write as a Christian who likes to set boundaries and rules for the sake of having boundaries and rules. (In fact, the purpose of my last series was to explore the reasons why Christians believe in certain boundaries, such as abstaining from alcohol and obscene language.) I do not write as a naive Christian who is unaware of the realities of this sinful world. I do not write as a Christian who blindly accepts someone else’s explanation of The Bible or my faith.
I write as someone who, despite coming from an educated and highly philosophical background, studied the Bible intensely and reached the conclusion that within it lies undeniable truths about humanity and the necessity of boundaries and guidance. I write as someone who has crossed MANY of the moral boundaries set forth in the Bible, and consequently has come to understand that all the boundaries God gives us are for our BENEFIT, not for our torture. I write as someone who once lived free from the constraints of righteousness. Now, I also write as someone who knows that the perceived freedom we have outside of God’s boundaries isn’t freedom at all — it’s slavery in disguise. Let me explain what I mean by that.
I used to run away from God because I didn’t want to obey his calls for righteousness. I wanted to be free to live my life as I pleased. And I did that by moving across the country — away from all family, friends and accountability — to build a new life with my own rules. I did all this only to realize 6 years later that the freedom I desired — to party, to drink, to fornicate, to speak, to live as I pleased — resulted in me being enslaved to those desires. I lived to party. I lived to drink. I lived to have fun, even though I wasn’t actually having much fun. That is why this passage in Romans always resonates so strongly with me:
Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. (Romans 6:16-21 ESV)
This passage is a perfect description of my former life under sin. Paul, with his incredible, God-given wisdom explains that we are not truly independent creatures. We are all accountable to something or someone. But we do have the CHOICE of whom or what we obey — either sin or righteousness. I once chose to be a slave to sin. Because of that choice, I’m familiar with different kinds of pain and destruction that I possibly could have avoided if I chose to be a “slave” to righteousness. As a Christian who now deeply regrets many actions of my past life, I often ask myself if anything fruitful ever came from a life of sin? The honest answer is no. Sure, there were moments of great pleasure and great fun, but they were so fleeting. I continually chased the happiness those moments promised, and in return I received many many unfulfilled promises. It was only by yielding my life to Christ that I was freed from that pain and vain search for happiness through sin and able to experience long-term hope and true contentment in my life. By the way, this is a gracious gift that’s available to you too if you seek it.
In summary: I’m passionate about following Christ and honoring God’s boundaries because of the constant cycle of sin, brief pleasure, and long-lasting pain I experienced in my life apart from God’s boundaries. I don’t always get it right. My spiritual mentors and accountability partners know that much. I recently had to learn the importance of balance within Christianity the hard way. We can’t go to extremes by setting concrete boundaries that aren’t found in the Bible. But we also can’t go to the opposite extreme by knocking down boundaries that the Bible establishes because those boundaries are there for good reasons. Those reasons are not because God is an oppressive figure who delights in our pain. His boundaries, as I have learned, are for our benefit — so we can live the good, holy, peaceful lives that God intended for us to live. His boundaries are more like guides to help us become better people through Christ — the kind of people who can have fellowship with HIM. Only recently have I accepted that view. Now I only wish I had heeded the wisdom in God’s boundaries and avoided the painful consequences of my foolish actions.
If you’ve reached this point in my post, then you’re somewhat interested in my views on moral boundaries. If you want to talk, please reach out to me. Yes, I am passionate about the Bible and its truths, but I am NOT judgmental because I can’t be. I’m still a wretched sinner in need of grace every single day. So please, if you have any questions or comments, don’t be afraid to contact me. I’d love the opportunity to discuss the Bible with you.