“ LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. (Psalm 16:5-7)”
Listen: Babbie Mason, "God Will Open Up the Windows"
This past week, we happened to be perusing maps, and we were looking at how unusual the shape of Michigan is. Why was the Upper Peninsula ultimately ceded to Michigan and not Wisconsin? So we delved a little further and discovered a bit of history that I certainly did not know – even as a former Ohioan. The Michigan-Ohio War of 1835-1836 was about a dispute over 468 sq. foot area known as the Toledo strip. Both states (well, Michigan didn’t become a state until January 26, 1827) did not want to let go of the disputed territory. Finally Congress offered a compromise that gave Ohio the Toledo strip and the Upper Peninsula to Michigan. At first this compromise seemed unfair – the Toledo area was bustling. The Upper Peninsula was unexplored, Indian territory and cold! However the area that once appeared worthless was discovered to have large mineral deposits. Thank goodness it was a bloodless battle, and continues to play out in the friendly rivalry in the arena of football, between Ohio State Buckeyes and Michigan State Wolverines.
Countless wars have been fought over geographical boundaries in world history. As human beings, we go through our days careful of physical and emotional boundaries. Some people lay too much claim to our time, perhaps touching us in ways that feel too close for comfort, or incite guilt or shame to get us to do something we don’t want to. It is important to recognize we have spiritual boundaries as well. These boundaries have been laid down for us in the teachings of Jesus and the scriptures. We often do not live into the boundaries God has determined for us. We are afraid to stretch ourselves to give and love as Christ has taught us. We don’t believe that God loves us and forgives us, so we refuse to embark into the land of reconciliation and promise. We feel more comfortable remaining in our spiritually cramped and stunted quarters. We seek bigger and beautiful homes for our bodies but are content to consign our soul to a darkened, cramped closet. This is not how we are created to live!
This year, let us plan to remodel our spiritual abode. It’s time to bring our spiritual lives up to code – and attend to it as we do our renovations of our kitchens and bathrooms and gardens. Time for a new coat of paint? How about helping out someone in need? Nothing like volunteering on a regular basis to pick up our spirits. Is your home modern and pristine but your interior life reckons back to the 1950s? Get involved in a spiritual community, read the scriptures, let Jesus speak to your life – not the Jesus portrayed in mass media, but the Jesus who lives in the pages of the gospels.
Have your vacation all planned out for 2015? Now it’s time to let God take your life in positive directions. Let God increase the boundaries of your heart. Let God show that the boundary lines have indeed fallen in good places, places once unexplored and considered worthless are treasure troves waiting to enrich our lives.
Where are your current spiritual boundary lines? To where does God want to expand them?
Pray: “God widen my boundaries so that I might grow into the person you created me to be.”