Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Revisiting Boundaries

I am enclosed within the will of God.  It is a sweet thought, isn't it?  I have chosen to live within the boundaries of God's will as these have already been built for me, to protect me.  God has given Scripture and Church teaching to show me the boundaries...  to fence me in, so to speak.  If I remain within this enclosure, I am safe from spiritual harm.

But oh, the world outside God's will can look so appealing.  Those who live out there, "free" of the constraints imposed by the "thou shalts" and the "thou shalt nots"... well, they appear to be pretty happy.  They're choosing their own paths without regard to God, and sometimes making sport of those who try to live according to Church teaching. They're telling bawdy stories, drinking to excess, and engaging in behavior that the Bible and the Church clearly assure us is wrong.  This is the way the world is today, we're often told. Anyone who doesn't keep up is a killjoy.

If I'm not inclined to join in some of these particular out-of-enclosure-frolics, I may have other temptations.  To gossip, perhaps. To be unkind. To speak harshly, be slothful, give in to anger, be self-focused... oh, how the list goes on.  The world outside God's will can at times look awfully appealing.  And after all, I'm not sealed up in a cage.  There's no lock on my enclosure wall....

Day by day, I have a choice to make.  A choice not just to enter "the enclosure of God's will" once and for all - but to remain within it.  Whether or not I actually venture outside my enclosure, I do find myself craning my neck (all too often) to see how green the grass looks on the other side.

I find that the only hopes for me are prayer, reliance upon grace, and determination to accept God's help to avoid what used to be called "near occasions of sin."

Which are much nearer to us than they were a few decades ago. And they are still tailor made to kill true joy. 

"Do not conform yourselves to this age, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, so that you may judge what is God's will, what is good, pleasing and perfect."  (Romans 12:2)

This is a slightly edited repost from 2012. It is being linked with Theology Is A Verb and Reconciled To You for 'It’s Worth Revisiting Wednesday'      

Text not in quotes

Painting: Jehan Georges Vibert, Sneaking a Peek 


  1. Oh, how I know what it's like outside the enclosure! I have no desire to go back to that life. But the other temptations you mention? Yes, unfortunately, I'm all too familiar with those. It's like they're ingrained in my personality, difficult to uproot. It's a daily struggle. This holiness business is hard! :)

    1. Oh yes, Aileen, it IS hard, isn't it? I agree that some of these things get ingrained in our personalities. Sometimes I feel like they're standing smack on the other side of the grille, whispering "pssst! Over here! Have I got a deal for you......."

  2. Oh the deals and the deal breakers!! We struggle and bumble along. "Reliance upon grace" is greatly needed. I love the painting...perfect for this post. Your abilities and struggles of living the cloistered life are so inspiring and helpful. Thank you...God bless..


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