We think the good life is a life without boundaries . . . but is it?
Just think of your own bad habit: what happens when you do what you want, when you want? Take a minute to close your eyes and fully answer that question.
Do you live a well-balanced, peaceful life, enjoying the pleasures of your habit without regret?
Or do you live a defeated and discouraged life, always wishing you hadn’t gone quite so far with your habit?
Would your life be better with boundaries or without boundaries? I’m not talking about the next five minutes, but your overall life.
If we want to break free from our bad habits, we have to get this idea out of our heads that the good life is a life without boundaries. Because that idea is a lie.
What is a life without boundaries really like?
When I hold my desires in a clenched fist—like I often do with my time, refusing to work on my to-do list—I’m not happy.
Jobs pile up. I’m unorganized. I’m overwhelmed. And I never get enough free time to satisfy me.
When I unclench my fists and say, Okay, God, whatever you want, I’ll do it—I’m a much more structured person. I follow the rules. I work on my list. I do things I don’t want to do.
But you know what? I’m a lot happier that way.
Does your habit control you?
Why? Because I’m no longer being controlled by my indulgent nature that says, Satisfy me. Make me happy. Give me more.
When I’m looking for my habit to fill me up, I never get enough to satisfy me. I’m like the broken cistern in Jeremiah 2:13:
For my people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, to hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water.
What’s the solution?
So what’s the solution? Keep trying to find the perfect life that will fill me up? Keep trying to use self-control to keep my habit in line?
Or keep going to God and learn how to be filled up with Him so I won’t want my habit so much?
The solution for both holiness and happiness is the same: I don’t need more habit. I need more God.
And I get more of Him when I hold my habit with open hands.
What do boundaries really do for you?
Boundaries help me unclench my fists from the things that have a tendency to control me. They are life-enriching, God-honoring safeguards that help me live life to the fullest because they help me keep God first in my life.
When the world tells me the good life is doing what-I-want-when-I-want, it’s telling me a lie.
Questions for your journal: Think about your renewing of the mind project. What does your life look like when you live without boundaries in regard to your habit? What would it look like if you lived with boundaries? Which is the better life? Why? How does Matthew 10:37-39 apply to your project?
Questions for discussion: When Jesus got upset with the Pharisees about legalism, was He upset with the fact that they had rules or was He upset about something else? At what point, if any, do rules (or boundaries) lead us away from God? In what way do they lead us toward God?