home > Pastor’s Desk > 2023 > 25th August > Freedom within Boundaries

A suburban home in Australia is shrinking in land size even though the average house size is headed in the opposite direction. What hasn’t changed is fencing around the block of land in order to separate it from a neighbour’s property. Broken fences, overgrown hedges and pets jumping fences are a known source of conflicts. We value our privacy. Those fences are boundaries. To go over them without permission will be trespassing. Renting, owning or owned outright – our home is our safe haven. When we chat with neighbours across the fence, there is a sense of security that comes with standing on our own patch of land. A little piece of Australia over which we have custody, albeit temporal.

The home also has compartments. The garage, bedrooms, living areas, bathrooms and toilets all have boundaries with an access door. Some rooms have locks that demand a knock before one opens it. You say this is not rocket science, I know. A house protects us from the physical elements of the environment. It serves as a sanctuary to relax, rest and reconnect with the most important relationships in life. It can be argued that rest, relaxation and reconnecting is, sadly, not everyone’s experience of a home. However, most people will agree that a home should be a safe sanctuary where occupants are free. Free to be who they are, again, within agreed boundaries. And thankfully, the majority of suburban homes continue to remain a safe sanctuary that allows members of the household to grow and flourish as they learn to serve one another.

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather serve one another humbly in love.
Galatians 5:13 NIV

By nature, boundaries are restrictive yet freeing. It provides security for the individual, family and community. Lack of boundaries may initially present as freedom. However, when boundaries are not set in place and observed early enough the consequences could be dire. Lack of boundaries can lead to chaos, insecurity and suffering. In the story of the lost son in Luke 15:11- 32, the younger son was eager to break free of his father’s oversight. He demanded his share of the inheritance and departed to live it up in a far away land. His boundary-less indulgence resulted in him desiring the same food the pigs he was hired to feed, ate.

So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
Luke 15:15-16 NIV

Think of living without appropriate boundaries. When the reality of a world that is not centred around us, strikes, the blame game begins. Lack of personal responsibility results in brushes with the law. Unfortunately, the common way the law enforcement authority applies boundaries is by restriction of freedom in the form of penalties or jail time. Succumbing to every wish or instinct we may have without consideration of the consequences on ourselves, and others is a recipe for all kinds of pain.

“Boundaries are to protect life, not to limit pleasure” – Edwin Louise Cole

In the case of the younger son in Luke 15, he came to his sense and was humble enough to realise he needed to return home, offering to be treated not as a son but a hired hand – an indication of how appreciative he was of the privileges the boundaries his father’s household provided.

When he came to his senses, he said, “How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants”.
Luke 15:17-18 NIV

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Galatians 5:1 NIV

When boundaries are appropriate, we grow, flourish and engage in respectful relationships. This brings pleasure to God our father, for in choosing to serve others, we serve Him. When we ignore boundaries in pursuit of our self-desires and passions, we hurt not only ourselves and others, but also God who made us in his image.

Take some time today to reflect on areas of your life where freedom has caused you to indulge the flesh. Perhaps it’s time to put up some fencing…

Amen.

Elder,

Ali

Let me know what you think below in the comment section and feel free to share this someone who might benefit from this Pastor’s Desk.

23 Comments

  1. Emeka Walter OHAHURU

    So true, God’s boundaries set us free and are for my good.

    Thanks, Elder Ali

    Reply
    • Ali

      So true though it doesn’t always seem so to us. Thank you Emeka

      Reply
    • Kefas Makadi Samu

      Very true and timely,too much freedom leads to ultimate chain on things destructive, cigar, alcohol,women,clashes with the law and jail.
      May we have healthy boundaries that pleases God and make for a fulfilled life.

      Reply
    • Ruth Akwara M

      ‘ freedom within boundaries ‘…. is a nice piece, setting should be done at early stage of life, and is considered obedience to authority and to God

      Reply
  2. Danlami Rukujei

    Apt. Great teaching

    Reply
    • Ali

      Thank you, honourable.

      Reply
      • Kenneth Akwara

        I receive the grace to stay within the boundaries that keeps me & still enjoy my freedom in Christ.

        Reply
  3. Japhet Nehemiah Maiyanga

    This is absolutely right, we can go overboard without boundaries, the whole Law and the commandments of God is aim at prpreserving us as God’s heritage. Am lifted and reminded. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Ali

      Thank you, Dr Maiyanga

      Reply
  4. Abdulrahman Rufai

    Composition was great sir! I love it especially the part; “Boundaries are to protect life, not to limit pleasure” – Edwin Louise Cole
    That’s inarguably true because without boundaries, one’s bound to temptations and as the famous writer wrote from his book(Maximized manhood); “Temptation can be tormenting, but remember: The torment of temptation to sin is nothing to compare with the torment of the consequences of sin. Remorse and regret cannot compensate for sin….though sins can be forgiven immediately – the consequences can last a lifetime”
    May God protect us all from indulging in things that will eventually lead us to temptation. Amen

    Reply
    • Ali

      My nephew, na gode. So true

      Reply
  5. Bitrus B Cobongs

    Amen, brother. I am blessed by your ministry, and I thank God for technology that allows me to benefit from afar. This message is on point for us all.

    Reply
    • Ali

      Encouraging from a seasoned minister and veteran. Thank you, my brother

      Reply
    • Elkanah Kabilis

      The words “God’s boundaries don’t fence you in-They set you FREE” are so true and timeless.

      Using the home to illustrate this truth is very apt and will serve as a constant reminder.

      Thank you, Elder Ali, for sharing.

      Reply
  6. Francis Achi

    Beautiful piece with deep message.

    Reply
    • Ali

      From a seasoned journalist, well appreciated

      Reply
  7. Yakubu Buba Kwasshak

    While we are focussing on fear, worry, or hate. It is not possible for us to be experiencing happiness, enthusiasm or love, you are absolutely right

    Reply
  8. Chef Ajaero

    On point. Temporal is the word…

    Reply
  9. Philemon Tanko Danladi

    A very good fact about freedom here; You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather serve one another humbly in love.
    Galatians 5:13 NIV. It connotes service to humanity as the Best Work Of Life. Am so Blessed.

    Reply
  10. Gabriel Toma

    Wow! Great word! Beautifully crafted! Very refreshing!
    Thank you for sharing, Sir!

    Reply
  11. C J Esomeju

    Boundaries are important to protect each other from psychological and physical threats but can also alienate people from each other, therefore, recognition of boundaries requires caution to avoid excessive separation that can result to hermits.

    Reply
  12. Amboge Samson

    I find the ideas shared in “FREEDOM within BOUNDARIES” really inspiring. It talks about important things like having freedom and knowing how to be responsible, finding room for personal growth, treating others well, admitting our mistakes and trying to make things right, serving others as if we’re serving God, letting what God wants to guide us more than what we want, finding the right balance between enjoying ourselves and staying safe, and helping us realise where we need to be more in control of ourselves. May God give us more grace to apply them in our daily life.

    Reply
  13. Danladi Umar

    Thank you Elder (Mr Prof. my Doc.) I never understood the meaning of boundaries in relation to life as it is applied here in all ramifications of reality. It has broadened my understanding as applied to activities of daily living. Thanks may God in his infinite mercy continue to grease you for greater highs. Thank you very much for this topic on BOUNDARIES. Remain blessed. Regards to family

    Reply

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Follow Me AS I FOLLOW JESUS

We all walk a path in life that is set before us. We start with very little experience and knowledge about the purpose of our life and the world beyond us. All of humanity experiences joy, wisdom, strength, weakness, suffering and hardship, especially those who are “contending for the faith”. Knowing Jesus is a very special part of this life journey.

A CERTAIN GOD

We can be reasonably certain about many things. In fact, without this certainty about life, none of us could function. We can be certain that tonight the sun will ‘set’. Tomorrow the sun will ‘rise’. After the February 28th it will be February 29th. This year there will be international unrest and much political instability in many parts of the world. In the coming months global warming will be identified by politicians as the source of floods and wildfires. Several high profile international celebrities will die this year. Archaeologists will make a discovery that will require some aspects of history to be rewritten. And you will certainly have one of the most memorable moments in your life in the coming days. You see, there are clearly some things we can be quite certain about. However, there are some aspects about our future that we cannot be certain about, yet in those moments we can be certain about what we should do.

LOW COST LIVING

Turn on any TV or radio news lately and there’s bound to be a story about the current “cost of living crisis”. We all feel it. Initially most people accepted the widespread price-rises were caused by 2020-21 pandemic lockdowns. But whatever the reasons for the rapid price hikes over the past two years, every time we go to the supermarket we feel it again. While governments are striving to curb the impact of this cost of living crisis, there remains a way to enjoy low cost living. The key to this is recognising that the most valuable things in life are literally priceless. The path to enjoying low-cost living is to be found in Christ, and what He taught — and it begins with treasure.

How To Know Jesus Better

It’s a scary thought to realise that the Jesus we have been told about and worship may not really be known to us at all. We can ‘know’ about someone or something, but not really know them. In Christian circles it’s often referred to as head knowledge not heart knowledge.

Knowing Christ Better

As a church, this year’s theme is coming closer to Christ by getting to know Him better. I feel that I am “the least qualified person” to tell anyone how this is done — but someone else has already claimed this distinction – the apostle Paul. After decades of hearing directly from Christ, seeing extraordinary miracles, being taken to heaven temporarily, planting churches across the Roman Empire, he could still say I would give anything to really know Christ – even if it meant suffering like He did! (Phil. 3:7-10). Therefore, I could say: If you do this or that, you will then know Christ better – but in my view, it’s not as easy as that! How we develop our relationship with Christ is shaped by several factors including our personality, our life experiences, our physical health and fitness, and our relationships with others (especially our parents and particularly our father). In fact, I believe that there is a relationship between how we have learned to build relationships with others (and notably how we have learned to relate to those who are closest to us) and how we then proceed to have a relationship with God. Even though I have expressed my lack of qualifications in telling anyone how to have a closer relationship with Christ, I still can, like one hungry beggar to another hungry beggar, offer you a few of the morsels of food that I’ve been able to find.

SOME PEOPLE HAVE AMAZING BUTS

I know of several people with amazing buts. There’s Jo’, Mo’, Sam, Esther, Jerry, and others. Each of these people were gifted by God with an amazing but that changed there life and the course of human history. Sometimes these gifts came with a …then, or …God, or …the LORD. When it comes to the size of things, a but is a relatively small thing (in Greek it can be just two letters: de) but it can have huge implications and enormously great blessings for multitudes. I hope to show you how this was the case with each of the people I have chosen as samples, and then show you how God is your God of buts.

OPEN

What does the word ‘open’ mean to you? Like language itself, it is like any word in which the meaning only comes from the context in which it is used. I can think of at least 12 different understandings of this word, some of which I will point out, most I will not, and one that I focus on because it is prophetically important for where we are at as a church at this crucial time.

ONE THING I HAVE TO SAY

​I’m always amazed at the really cool events I’d organised for my kids to experience, so that they might have happy memories – but now they don’t remember it except the random comment someone made in the car trip on the way there or what snack was eaten. Conversely, if you make a mistake, well that one is remembered! Once I drove Andrew’s car and just lightly hit something so it ended up with an annoying 2cm scratch. The mistake is (still) there in full view to anyone who looks. Is Andrew going to remember this above the years of my devotion to him? (Not likely, but some people do remember the wrong for way too long!) If you had the choice, what one thing would you want to be remembered for? What one thing would you want your family to remember? It’s not often going to be the thing you have in mind.

‘Famous last words’ comes from the hope that you’ll be remembered for them. If you were given the privilege of being able to articulate as the important thing to say, to be remembered by all, what would it be? Would it be a reflection on your love toward someone? Would it be a directive on how to have the best life? Would it be that you wished you had done something? Someone once mused, ‘would your dying words be that you’d wished you’d spent just one more day in the office’? (Not likely.)

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This is my last end-of-year Pastor’s Desk post. When the head of our Live-stream ministry, Sari, asked me what I was thankful for this year, my immediate answer was obvious and predictable. But since then, I have considered that I also have eleven other things for which I am grateful to GOD for. In this last ever end-of-year Pastor’s Desk please indulge as I share my heartfelt thanks to God and for those God has used to bless me this year.

HE WAS BORN A KING

The king who reigned over Judea when Jesus was born was Herod the Great. Herod had no legitimate claim to the throne of Israel. He was from an Idumean noble family who supported the Roman occupation of Palestine. As a reward he was appointed by the Roman Senate as the King of Judea. Despite his attempts to curry favour with the Jews, including several major public works programs (including completing the temple reconstruction) he was still largely unpopular among the Jews. Little wonder then that when the Magi arrived in Jerusalem with their large retinue and requested to view the birth of the prophesied King of the Jews, Herod was emotionally threatened by this revelation. Herod immediately ordered an enquiry from the chief priests and religious scribes.