Boundaries (Single & Following Jesus Part III) 

Image created with WordSwag. Used with permission. 

Today I wanted to talk about boundaries in dating and with the opposite gender. 

I read a quote that has followed me through life. It is as follows, “Build a fence around your heart, not a wall. So people can see it’s beauty, yet only invited guests are invited inside.” 

God expects us to guard our hearts. I have seen people blame God for a lack of protecting their own hearts. I used to become upset at the way people treated me, then I realized I set myself up to be treated poorly with a lack of steady boundaries. People treat us, for the most part, how we let them. 

Guard What Is Valuable: 

We are responsible for what we allow into our hearts and lives. 

Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life,~ Proverbs 4:23. 

Look at the heart like it’s a priceless rare diamond. Look at your body like it’s even more valuable. Both were worth dying for, according to Jesus. Why offer them to just anyone? Not every person we encounter is worthy of our heart, deep inner world, nor our body. 

God says, “Reserve your body for holy, committed, loyal, invested, mutual love.” 

Our culture minimizes intimacy to one night stands, random hook ups, experimentations, chemistry that leads to immorality, or reducing humans to objects to be objectified for personal pleasure. It sets up instant intimate relationships. 

Prudence says, “Get to know this person’s character before opening up your heart and life to them.” 
Lots of drama, heartache, and pain can be avoided if we understand boundaries and we grow into intimacy. The level of intimacy should increase with the level of commitment and the character of the person needs evaluated. Why?Because the more of ourselves we give away, the more damage can be done to the heart, soul, spirit. 

We should be the most vulnerable with those committed to love us and steward our hearts well. The world says, “Be intimate with whoever you wish.” God gives us wisdom to be intimate with those who will steward our hearts well and are committed to love us. 

Note: Lust is cheap. Love is expensive and worth doing God’s way. 

Healthy Boundaries: 

1. Give people access based on the level of trust, committment, and assessment of their character. This means we do not invite strangers into our inner world or just hook up with anyone. We value ourselves. You do not just give rare, priceless diamonds away. We grow to know people before letting them into our inner world. 

2. We do not treat boyfriends or girlfriends like spouses. Spouses have privileges and rights that dating partners do not. Please do not give yourself away or build your life/excessive time around someone who is not your spouse. I am talking about enmeshment that does not lead to marriage. It leads to heartache. 

3. Understand interactions with the opposite sex can be tricky. I am including some of my boundaries, yet just as illustration. Each person sets their own boundaries. 

These are my current standards so I can not be accused of being inappropriate: 

I am a kind hearted person. My intentions are to love people, yet understand boundaries are necessary for opposite gender relating. 

  • I do not correspond with married men or encourage them without a witness. I realized though I am just trying to honor Hebrews 3:13 and John 13:34-35, some do not see it that way. If I can, I send things through their spouse or mainly deal with their wives.  
  • I do not minister to males by myself. The only exception is if I see someone begging for food and I can hand them materials outside the window (in public). 
  • I do not correspond with single men I do not know. I copy someone else. The exceptions are it is related to business, it’s necessary. Several of my mentors and coworkers are male. Our communication is brief and about work/business. 
  • I do not meet with married men without a witness. 
  • I do not listen to married men discuss their marriage or emotional/inner life. They need a male or therapist/counselor. I will take brief prayer requests, I do not set myself up to be their go to person to vent. 
  • I do not discuss my deep inner world with men. I have girlfriends for that and Jesus.

For dating, I do not invite men into my home alone for dates. We meet somewhere else. I am not stating we can not be alone, I am stating I do not invite men into my home for one on one alone evening dates. Why? My goal is not to give anyone the idea I am looking for something I am not. It’s not because I have a purity problem. It’s because I choose to set this boundary. I also do not devote my entire life to men expressing interest. I do not drop plans for them nor share my deepest thoughts immediately. I have physical boundaries as well. It is not because I am a prude. I honor my heart and body. It belongs to Jesus. Why give it away to just any man interested? 

4. Refuse to allow disrespect, dishonor, or abuse. The first time someone disrespects you in relationship, address it. Turning the other cheek is about refusing retaliation, not being a doormat. You are empowered to say to people, “You may not speak to me this way, treat me this way, touch me this way.” Allowing people to disrespect us is devaluing ourselves. 

5. Follow through on boundaries. If you tell someone what your boundaries are, do not back down. 

Boundaries express value. When we do not set boundaries, enforce boundaries, or adhere to boundaries we set ourselves up to be devalued or disrespected. Jesus had boundaries. We need healthy boundaries. 

Love in Christ, 

Erin 

Choose Reality Over Fantasy (Sacred Sex Series Part III)

  
Image: WordSwag; used with permission. 

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ,~2 Corinthians 10:5. 

Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body,~1 Corinthians 6:18. 

God gave us a brain, an imagination, a will, and emotions. These things when purified are a gift. A holy imagination is a great place for God given creativity to be birthed. Our thoughts were meant to align with His so what is birthed out of our soul brings Him glory. Our thoughts are powerful. Our imagination powerful. 

Sin starts with a thought, a seed. “Do this. You deserve this. This will feel good. This will meet your needs.” 

The devil does not tell people, “Giving in to things outside God’s will leads to bondage, addiction, distraction, lust, patnership with the devil, or sin.” He never talks about consequences. He leads people into sin and then laughs at them. 

The serpent did not tell Eve her choice would bring death, sickness, pain, and destruction into the entire world for all of time. He led her to believe God was witholding something good. He does not tell the world today sex outside marriage covenant of a man and woman leads to bondage and opens the door wide open to the demonic. He does not tell people pornography kills love, intimacy, and leads to addiction/sexual dysfunction/demonization. It is fueled by lust and perversion (twisting of God’s truth about sex). He does not tell people sexual fantasies lead to unrealistic expectations that keep people unsatisfied and discontent with their current life. Sexual fantasies also open the door wide open to a spirit of lust. He does not tell anyone undressing someone with the eyes is reducing them to an object to be used, not a person to be loved. 

Live in reality not fantasy…

We live in a world that promotes virtual reality. As long as it’s an image on a screen or character in a book or movie it’s harmless. As long as someone is consenting, it’s okay. What you do with your body is okay. Well, sin always cost someone something. 

Most men who buy sex, even to the point of buying young girls and children (sex trafficking) started with a porn addiction. It started with a fantasy in the mind that developed into a stronghold of lust/perversion/pedophilia/whoredom. 

You may be saying, “It is not that serious. What I meditate on and fantasize about is my business. I am not hurting anyone.” Well our thoughts invite either God or the evil one to build in our soul. Heaven and hell are both looking for human agreement.   

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death,~James 1:13-15. 

They say affairs begin first in the mind, with a thought. “This person can give you something your spouse can not.” It starts with a seed planted. The seed is then watered. Over time if not uprooted, the seed grows into a garden. Lust is fed over and over until it must be acted upon either through self gratification or with someone. 

I have ministered to several women devastated by their husband’s addiction to porn and a few who had spouses who were sleeping with someone else. Some who cheated with someone of the same sex. It all started with a thought, a thought that grew to a fantasy, and then a fantasy that developed into actions. Those actions destroyed marriages, families, children, reputations, witnesses for Christ, churches (in two cases), and so it does matter what we think, meditate on, and fantasize about in our free time. If the mind is filled with fantasies, when is there time for God, prayer, intercession, true love, meditation on His word? 

Keep the heart pure before and after marriage…

Despite popular teaching, marriage does not cure lust any more than going to a bar cures alcoholism. Lust is a heart, soul, and spiritual condition. It is something to be delivered from and the person delivered to purity and love. Love seeks to save the sacred spaces of itself for what fits into God’s will and plan. 

If your thoughts are lustful, if you are trapped in porn or with sexual fantasies. If you are addicted, there is hope! Jesus came to set the captives free. He came for total and not partial freedom. 

Step 1: Prayer/Renouncing/Repenting  

Lord Jesus, thank You that You paid for my sins on the cross. Thank You for the freedom that comes in You. I ask for Your forgiveness for all of my sins including (insert what it is). I ask for total cleansing of my soul from all sin. I apply the blood of Jesus over every wound on my soul from sin. Cleanse every place, every memory, uproot every stronghold. I renounce my agreement with anything and everything not of You.  Ask for Your power to break every single bondage, stronghold, hold on my life. Anything in my soul that’s not of You I command it to leave. Any parts of anyone retained in my emotions, imagination, or soul I release. I renounce the idols of pleasure, sex, self, comfort. Any spirits that are not the Holy Spirit I cancel your assignment and command you to leave and go to Jesus. I forbid you from returning. I ask for a flooding of every place held by darkness with Your love, light, and purity. In Jesus mighty name, amen. 

Step 2: Renew the mind. Praying the scriptures is a great way to start. The mind needs flooded with God’s truth. 

Prayer for Sexual Healing
Daily Prayer with Scriptures
Prayer for Freedom from Habitual Sins
Step 3: Fast and pray. 

Some strongholds require fasting. Fasting involves refraining from food or certain foods for a period of time and involves deeper connection with God through prayer. 

Step 4: Starve the source/kill it at the root.  

What is fed grows, what is starved dies. Media is aimed at fueling sexual thoughts and fantasy. Cut it off. Whatever tempts you, flee from it. I am not saying if an attractive person sits next to you run. I am saying the movies, books, magazines, computer sites, images, and activities that lead you into sin, get them away from you. Set up safeguards for yourself. If you have porn at home, get it out of your house. Get it off your computer. 

If you are married and another person is tempting you, refrain from alone time with them. Refrain from texts, meetings alone. Refrain from having heart to heart’s with them. Set firm boundaries. 

Step 5: Accountability. 

This one can be challenging because who can you trust? Some people will love you. Others may shame you, judge you, or tell everyone your shortcomings. Ask God for a mature, loving person who can and will walk with you. When tempted, you can ask them to pray. 

Step 6: Investigate soul needs. 

We were created for intimacy (to be known and loved). We were designed for affection, attention, encouragement, and affirmation. If those needs are not met in healthy ways, the body will cry out to be fed in unhealthy ways. Love is what the soul wants. The first stop is God. A man or woman’s physical needs for physical intimacy were intended to be met in the covenant (life long committment). If physical intimacy is desired, God designed one outlet (man/woman covenant). 

God can and will calm any person’s desires, drives. Ask Him. 

Step 7: Inner Healing/Deliverance

Dependings on the strength of the stronghold, it may require extra help, prayer ministry. I willl talk more about this in a future post. It is possible to be free and stay free. I have seen Jesus break strong bondages in people’s lives. What He does for one, He will do for another. 

I hope something in this post is a blessing. May each person live in reality, not fantasy. May each heart, mind be cleansed with holy, pure fire of God. May each person have the mind of Christ! 

Blessings, 

Erin