Good Boudaries

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Setting a Hedge of Protection

Within our lives there are many things which tempt us to stray from our secure lives as Christians. Society deems different lifestyles as okay and provides enticement to veer off the straight and narrow path through television and movies.
When we investigate the moral nature of what we believe is to be the correct path we must also note that it is because we bear the image of God and are given charge of taking care of what has been given to us.
There are many forms of the protections which guard our lives.
If you have ever raised children and note the boundaries around your home which protect their lives, you can envision the hedge of protection that God places around us.
You may have a fence that defines the boundaries you have for your home. It lets you know where your land ends and others begin. For your children, it provides a safe place for them to travel.
In Jewish culture, it was necessary for cities to be fortified with walls of protection.
Hedges provided protection for the gardens to thrive and produce without being overrun by outside weeds and animals.
Jesus reminds us that what comes from our hearts will come out into our lives showing what we truly feel and yearn for. Matt 15:11. Therefore, we must guard what comes out from each of us. What are we producing in our lives that will come out. Much of this is determined by what we desire and what we allow our minds to concentrate upon.

Notice the Rumble Strips

If you have traveled anywhere and veered a little off the side of the road, you will note the rumble strips to wake you back up from destroying your vehicle. In the same manner, God warns us and guides us through His word to guard ourselves by rumbling us back onto the path when we are tempted.
Other passengers along our paths should help watch out for our safety as well. If they notice us not capable of driving or note that our lives are leading us away from the paved safe path towards heaven, we are at risk to drive past the rumble strips and into the guardrail assuming there is one there to help us.
Andy Stanley mentions in his book, Guardrails, there is a need to place protection for our Christian lives as well due to the methods society uses to tempt us to believe something different than what God has deemed good.
How do we set up those guardrails and know when we have passed from safety to a dangerous area?
Genesis 39:1 NASB95
Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an Egyptian officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the bodyguard, bought him from the Ishmaelites, who had taken him down there.
Genesis 39:2 NASB95
The Lord was with Joseph, so he became a successful man. And he was in the house of his master, the Egyptian.
Genesis 39:3 NASB95
Now his master saw that the Lord was with him and how the Lord caused all that he did to prosper in his hand.
Genesis 39:4 NASB95
So Joseph found favor in his sight and became his personal servant; and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he owned he put in his charge.
Genesis 39:5 NASB95
It came about that from the time he made him overseer in his house and over all that he owned, the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house on account of Joseph; thus the Lord’s blessing was upon all that he owned, in the house and in the field.
Genesis 39:6 NASB95
So he left everything he owned in Joseph’s charge; and with him there he did not concern himself with anything except the food which he ate. Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance.
Genesis 39:7 NASB95
It came about after these events that his master’s wife looked with desire at Joseph, and she said, “Lie with me.”
Genesis 39:8 NASB95
But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Behold, with me here, my master does not concern himself with anything in the house, and he has put all that he owns in my charge.
Genesis 39:9 NASB95
“There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?”
Genesis 39:10 NASB95
As she spoke to Joseph day after day, he did not listen to her to lie beside her or be with her.
Genesis 39:11 NASB95
Now it happened one day that he went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the household was there inside.
Genesis 39:12 NASB95
She caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me!” And he left his garment in her hand and fled, and went outside.
Genesis 39:13 NASB95
When she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and had fled outside,
Genesis 39:14 NASB95
she called to the men of her household and said to them, “See, he has brought in a Hebrew to us to make sport of us; he came in to me to lie with me, and I screamed.
Genesis 39:15 NASB95
“When he heard that I raised my voice and screamed, he left his garment beside me and fled and went outside.”
Genesis 39:16 NASB95
So she left his garment beside her until his master came home.
Genesis 39:17 NASB95
Then she spoke to him with these words, “The Hebrew slave, whom you brought to us, came in to me to make sport of me;
Genesis 39:18 NASB95
and as I raised my voice and screamed, he left his garment beside me and fled outside.”
Genesis 39:19 NASB95
Now when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spoke to him, saying, “This is what your slave did to me,” his anger burned.
Genesis 39:20 NASB95
So Joseph’s master took him and put him into the jail, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined; and he was there in the jail.
We may immediately look upon this situation and see that we are angry because Joseph’s reputation was tarnished and he was accused of something he did not do. The consequences of his actions were not rewarded by the society at the time because he was an outsider and not part of that house.
In setting up the protections in his life, Joseph often found himself in situations that may have been prevented. However, God uses Joseph to encourage us to note God’s greater plan.
In the daily activities of Joseph, he is suffering often due to not placing protection around himself. His ego here in Potiphar’s home is that nothing is greater than he is in that home. Not only does he find out this to be untrue in the physical home but the fact that God’s divine plan often is out of our full sight due to our inability to fully confide in Him our lives prevents us from seeing the road ahead.
There were certain alarms raised before Joseph was accused of attempting to rape Potiphar’s wife. She had often come on to Joseph before he was found alone in the house.
We do not fully know what Joseph was thinking in this situation but we can begin to address how similar situations in our lives reflect this one.
When in your life have you been given a choice to provide for yourself and your family and the consequences of remaining in that position have allowed yourself to be tempted or placed in a compromising position?
In our society today, we believe we must remain in our careers even though that place has many people who would tempt you to stray from your Christian walk.
Or, greed has consumed you to relinquish your desires to walk as a Christian and you begin to allow yourself to veer through the rumble strips and through the guardrail.

Set your alarms

Setting an alarm is often a thought of for time, but in the chemical industry, you must set alarms for protecting people, equipment, and the environment.
These alarms are programmed to provide the operators a warning, then a higher alarm for more dangerous circumstances, and finally critical alarms which will take control of the situation automatically.
Your life is built with the same alarm functions if you have given yourself over to God. As a Christian, the Holy Spirit dwells within guiding you to understand the words of God and what He knows to be true and full of life.
When you begin to stray from the path, the consequences you end up with are many times dependent upon how well you listen to the alarms in your life.
If you have not read what is true and what is morally correct from the perspective of God, it is easy to ignore those alarms. If your guidance comes from society’s definition of wholesome, you may find yourself on a different path than the one God has planned for you.
Thankfully, God has a way of pulling us back onto the path He desires for us. However, that doesn’t mean we don’t suffer the consequences of our decisions.
Joseph ignored the alarms of the temptress he was living with. He was also confined to living in that home as he was a bought slave. How do you feel in comparison to Joseph?
Joseph was able to stand up and proclaim his allegiance to God and his desire to not sin against God and the master he served in Egypt. This did not alleviate his problem when he was accused.
When the critical alarm sounded and Joseph was placed in jail, God still looked over him and brought him out of that situation.

We must help listen for the alarms of others

Accountability groups in the church help listen for the alarms in the lives of others. They are what Paul desired when he suggested we bear one another’s burdens and pray for one another. It is impossible for one person to go through this alone without relying on the prayers and help of others.
This is the community God desires for each one of us. A family of believers who know the lives of each of us are facing temptations and knowing how society desires for us to stray from that path. It is the duty of the church to aid those who are struggling to know the alarms in their lives are only there for their protection and not to place shame, guilt and regret in their lives.
If Joseph had another in his life who encouraged him and prayed with him while he was attempting to follow God, he may not have ended up in the many situations he found himself. Yet, this story is unique in that God works through Joseph to provide food to an entire country.
Your plan is unique as well. It is better to find your path amongst others who are following God as well to help you listen to your alarms, listen for those rumble strips, and get back on the path to following God’s plan for your life.
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