Our dog, Scamp (a Border Collie-Besenji mix), recently escaped our fenced yard. After paying $170 to get him back from the Dog Warden, we fixed the fence and the following week he found a new way out - thankfully caught by a neighbor.
For Scamp, the fence or boundary is a good thing. It's a positive thing. It keeps him safe. He doesn't know any better than to perhaps walk across a busy road. He doesn't know all the pitfalls and potential hazards that exist in the world. So we have fences and leashes for his safety. We put limitations on his existence so that he is safe.
I can tell you for sure that Scamp doesn't enjoy his fence. He wants to get beyond it. His other limitations are frequently violated when no one else is around – like staying out of my room. But we know he goes in there when nobody is home.
We have boundaries for Scamp for the same reason we lock windows and doors in our houses. For the same reason we leave lights on so we come home to a well lit environment after being out at night.
God has some boundaries and I can tell you for sure that we don't always enjoy them – we sometimes don't understand them – we often seek to see how close we can come to the edge without an explicit violation. But God has boundaries for us for one reason – perhaps two – to keep us safe. And because he loves us. We don't see all the pitfalls and hazards that exist in our world. But God does. So He provides boundaries, limitations, fences for us so we know where the out of bounds is.
Sex is something that has boundaries in God's economy. Violating those boundaries is costly. We may not understand all of God's boundaries - we may not like all of them - we may not agree with all of them. We are free to choose. I choose to start with God's character and heart and then look at his boundaries.
Two things I know to be true: God is good and God is for me. If I believe that, then when I don't understand, like or agree with His boundaries, I go back to what I know about God.
When we push God's boundaries aside or step over them in disregard, when we make unhealthy choices, sex can wipe out our relationships. Here are some ways that might happen:
When sex in marriage becomes a reward or punishment instead of an expression of passion. When secrets are kept.
When avoidance strategies are employed so that a difficult but necessary conversation can't occur. Or simply not being honest with one another.
A husband confesses the difficulties of his marriage to a female co-worker; or a wife to a male co-worker.
Dating relationships wipe out when we settle for emotions and disregard character and the heart.
Let me suggest three ways to stay within the boundaries God has set:
1. Make Relationship with God a Priority
Here's the thing I know - intimacy with God will protect you from illegitimate intimacies in your life. Jesus IN you makes the difference not more muscles, not different clothes, not the color of your hair.
Make Jesus the priority in your life and you are less likely to experience a wipe out in your relationships.
2. Establish Boundaries
I know that money, sex and power will destroy a ministry and/or person faster than anything else. So I have boundaries for those. I don't touch money. I never meet with a female by myself in private. I invite guests to speak and invite people smarter than me onto leadership teams to keep power at bay.
We slip when we compromise our boundaries. The girl who decides that she'll ignore the fact that a boy doesn't share her faith values and instead focuses on his looks. Watch out! The husband who shares the struggles in his marriage with a female colleague crosses a dangerous boundary.
3. Evaluate your inner life
Use God's Word to evaluate your life. Use Galatians 5:22-23. Do these Fruit of the Spirit display themselves in your life?
Evaluate your inner life first before you evaluate the outer life of the other. If your relationships are what you want them to be, look inside first, asking God to grow these fruit in your life. And make a choice to stay away from the other list.