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Is Setting Boundaries Biblical?

It may seem like God’s love and mercy knows no bounds, therefore we are called to be endlessly giving and tirelessly suffering. 

It might seem like we have a lot of work to do in order to please God, spread the gospel, and give to the needy. 

However, through God’s perfect plan, we can discover how to handle the variety of relationships and responsibilities that we have in life. 

“The Lord said to Moses, “Command the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter Canaan, the land that will be allotted to you as an inheritance is to have these boundaries” 

~Numbers 34:1-2~

Humanity has been given the freedom of choice. 

With that, the choices made in sin have created a world that has overcomplicated what God had intended to be peaceful and prosperous. 

It is because of this that God has to lay out the ground rules to the Israelites. 

Not only did God give them the Ten Commandments, but he also gave them extremely detailed instructions on where to go and how to act, what to eat and what not to eat, and much more. 

These rules and boundaries of the old testament still are not the first we see of boundaries in the Bible. 

In a sense, boundaries are at the core of God’s plan and have been from the time he created gravity and told the planets how to travel around the sun, to the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil which Adam and Eve had been told not to eat from. 

It is important that we take a look at what scripture says about the boundaries not only for strengthening our faith in God, but also for finding peace and balance in a busy, chaotic world. 

Why Did God Create Boundaries? 

“If you find honey, eat just enough too much of it, and you will vomit. Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house too much of you, and they will hate you.” 

~Proverbs 25:16-17~

Imagine roasting marshmallows around a campfire for the first time.  A parent probably uttered the warning of “careful, it’s hot,” but it didn’t matter.

You or any child probably still reached out to grab that freshly toasted blob of goodness, only to learn the hard way that mom and dad were right: it was hot!

God created boundaries for our protection. 

Just like a parent worries about their children and sets rules and gives warnings, God does the same for us and has since the beginning of time. 

God has boundaries working on autopilot that we forget about: gravity, day, night, seasons, and more. 

In Proverbs 25:16-17, King Solomon is pointing out a boundary that is so easily ignored in a society that is focused on self: moderation. 

Too much of a good thing will surely lead to a bad thing. 

So consider the principles of biblical boundaries as words of a caring Father hoping that his children will follow the right path by staying within His boundaries. 

If we make His boundaries our boundaries, then we can unlock the full potential of His great and mighty plan. 

What Are the Biblical Principles of Boundaries?

“From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.” 

~Acts 17:26

The principles of biblical boundaries exist just as all things do: to give the glory back to God who created all the earth. 

While the expanse of what God has created and the wonderful things he has made can fill more pages than anyone could read, we can sum up this concept of boundaries in these points: 

● Boundaries for Ministry 

● Boundaries for Labor 

● Boundaries for Relationships 

● Boundaries for Unbelievers 

How can we apply these principles to our lives? 

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Why Are Boundaries Important In Ministry?

“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~

God definitely said to go into all the earth to spread the good news of Christ. 

However, the call to trek the planets is not everyone’s calling. 

It can be easy to call an action good by human standards, but it is important to evaluate your heart and search for your true intentions. 

If making what Jesus has done for you known is not the focus of your interactions, then your interactions were not truly for ministry. 

It is important to identify the purpose behind the outreach, then follow through with sharing the love of Christ. 

It isn’t okay to go to the beach for an outreach, just to hangout and go for a swim.  The purpose is to minister to people. 

It isn’t okay to stay for potluck at church if you don’t intend to actually fellowship. 

Ask yourself: are you trying to indulge the flesh or are you trying to serve? 

Clearly identify the purpose, then set the boundary. 

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Setting Boundaries In Life and Work 

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” 

~Galatians 6:2~

God made us to be social creatures, and that counts at work too. 

We were created to love our neighbors and help when we can, but God never intended for people to take advantage of one another and create more and more burdens. 

The burdens that come from sin are an overwhelming distraction from the glory and goodness of God. 

The tough thing is, many of us create burdens for ourselves! 

“All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” 

~Matthew 5:37~

Have you ever found yourself over-explaining in your apologies, or perhaps never really saying no because you don’t want to offend or be seen as a slacker? 

It’s time to pick one or the other and let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no’. 

It is okay to set healthy boundaries and take care of yourself and your loved ones by saying ‘no’ when you are too stretched for time, money, or even sanity. 

This can be especially hard when you have a people pleasing personality, but know that God always loves you and caring for yourself should be a part of your boundary setting standards. 

Boundaries In Your Relationships 

“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” 

~2 Corinthians 6:14

God is very clear with setting this boundary rule: don’t date or marry someone who isn’t also a Christian. 

To be yoked means to be bound together, like the yoke that holds together two oxen. 

You cannot find true peace and happiness with someone who is still choosing sin over salvation. 

There is no righteousness in choosing someone who is still living in darkness. 

You should not date someone or marry someone hoping they will come to Christ later. 

God was very clear with this boundary. 

Wait patiently for the right person that lives up to His standards and respects His boundaries, because you will know that your boundaries will be respected. 

Boundaries With Unbelievers 

“Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” 

~1 Corinthians 15:33~

In our search for opportunities to spread the Gospel and bring others to salvation, it is important to stay mindful of what we are around and do not partake in the ways of the world. 

We should be kind and generous to everyone, but at the same time set firm boundaries of things that are not acceptable to do. 

If you find yourself faced with unbelievers who are trying to test your faith and break your boundaries through drugs, alcohol, or media, then it is time to move on and find other peers to spend time with. 

Boundaries Abound

 “If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.” 

~1 John 1:6~

The boundaries we set based on God’s set of guidelines lead us closer to a strong faith and an unwavering relationship with Jesus Christ. 

Take a moment to reflect on how you should redefine boundaries in your life in work, love, and friendships. 

Ask God to open your heart and mind to the boundaries He would have you to place. 

Without following His boundaries as set in the Bible, you are not truly following His way and are not experiencing true fellowship with God. 

It’s time to come out of the darkness and strive for the truth. 

Setting biblical boundaries is the start to your walk with Christ, just and setting the sun in the sky was God’s start for creating all that we know today. 

It all starts with boundaries. 

Boundaries are not only healthy but they are necessary!

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19 thoughts on “Is Setting Boundaries Biblical?”

  1. Pingback: Loving Your Enemies When You Don't Want To

  2. This is interesting we should know about it Boundaries are necessary for healthy and lasting relationships. It may be difficult in the beginning, but practicing boundaries in our lives will help strengthen our relationships.Thanks for sharing!

  3. … “many of us create burdens for ourselves.” Truth!! I’ve had to learn this lesson the hard way. So glad we worship a God of such patience and unconditional love. ❤️ Thanks for sharing this.

  4. Charlie-Elizabeth Nadeau

    Love reading your work and agree that boundaries are key. We can’t give from our best self when we are feeling drained and boundaries help protect us. Thank you for sharing these passages!

  5. I love how you’ve taken scripture and used it to apply to such a relevant “real world” topic. Great thoughts!

  6. What a great perspective! Your article came to me at a great time while I am focusing on creating healthy boundaries!

  7. This is probably the #1 reason people are so overwhelmed and stressed. No boudaries. Then guilt when we can’t do all things for all people. Loved the insight. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Yes!! Boundaries are so important in every aspect of our life! Sometimes I think the church is afraid to talk about boundaries, but there is such biblical precedence for boundaries. Thanks for tackling this hard subject!

  9. Thanks so much for encouraging us to set boundaries! It’s easy to feel guilty about this, but our lives thrive within healthy boundaries! Powerful message!

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