Fences Bring Freedom: How Boundaries Can Liberate Us

My son, keep your father’s commands and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Bind them upon your heart forever; fasten them around your neck. When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you. For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life, keeping you from the immoral woman, from the smooth tongue of the wayward wife.

Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes, for the prostitute reduces you to a loaf of bread, and the adulteress preys upon your very life. Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched? (Proverbs 6:20-28)

We live in the same house that we did when our daughters were small. Now they’re grown and we have four grandsons. All those years our daughters were growing up, we never built a fence in our yard. There was no need.

But when we started having grandsons everything changed. I would go out and play ball with my three-year-old grandson, and he would run after the ball. And as he would approach the road that runs past our house, I would yell, “Stop! Don’t go to the road!” Whenever we’d play in the yard I would be anxiously watching the children, raising my voices and watching them every second.

Eventually, we had a fence built. When that happened, we stopped needing to watch the children every minute. We could listen to them laugh and we didn’t need to raise our voices out of fear. They also realized that they could do more than before—when we had no fence, they couldn’t go near the street. Now they know how far they can go (up to the fence) and they know that they can’t go farther.

Those kids love the freedom and joy of having boundaries, and their parents and grandparents love it, too. The fence is actually liberating.

The same principle applies to our purity—especially our sexual purity: Build fences. Protect yourself. Protect your children. Protect your family. Protect your church. Then you don’t have to always be looking over your shoulder. You can live with the freedom of knowing what the lines are, and you can live with a clean conscience of not having crossed the boundaries.

Copyright © 2007 Christianity Today International/BuildingChurchLeaders.com
For more on the subject of purity, see Randy Alcorn’s book The Purity Principle.

Photo by Kristyn Lapp on Unsplash

Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries