We fast and pray asking for the Lord to bring healing in our times: for men to be bold and to walk in to relationships with women, for women to be soft and willing to be molded by God’s gracious plan in their lives, and for God to give the good gift of marriage to those who desire it.
Book a flight on any commercial airline and you will experience the scrutiny of the security checkpoints. I had an unopened water bottle in my carry on bag which led to a full pat-down and scan of the dirt on my boots for explosive residue. The screening and checking of bags and body searches might add extra time to our travel and be inconvenient, but it is all done in the name of protection and safety.
In the Bible, the security officers are called gatekeepers. The gatekeepers were posted as guards at the entrances to cities for protection, or as 2 Chronicles 23:19 states,
He also stationed gatekeepers at the gates of the Lord’s temple so that no one who was in any way unclean might enter.
Keeping trouble outside of the city or temple was the primary responsibility of the gatekeepers. In order for there to be gatekeepers, however, there needs to be a wall and gates for them to protect.
There are many correlations that can be drawn from the fortifying of Old Testament cities described in Chronicles and Nehemiah that can relate to how we protect ourselves from the evil and corruption that wants to enter our hearts and minds. Setting boundaries in our lives is analogous to building a wall around a city. What are the biblical boundaries you have built to protect your heart and mind from evil?
1. Build the Wall
Do you have boundaries around what you allow to fill your mind? Entertainment is often an easy, and sometimes warranted, target for its negative influences on our thoughts. I try to make a conscious effort to stay away from watching movies that will fill my mind with lust, sexual imagery, or spark a myriad of thought trails that lead me away from the charge in Philippians 4:8. Songs are another big one for getting my mind focused on the right stuff, so I’ve set boundaries around what I listen to, it doesn’t mean the songs outside of my wall are bad, they just don’t point my mind in the direction I want to head. It’s important to know your areas of weakness and protect those areas with walls (boundaries).
2. Establish Gatekeepers
Open communication with God through prayer that allows Him to guide you to areas where gates need to be closed and guarded is the first step. Once you know where you need to post guards, try opening yourself up to accountability. Allow others to ask poignant questions and to keep yourself responsible for your actions. Even doing little things that don’t seem like significant or strong points for attack can help to keep the borders strong and the gates working. These may seem pointless, but they are reminders that my life should not be lived in the shadows and I need gatekeepers, my nephews remember the code to my phone (and I haven’t changed it), several people have access to my Facebook account, and my online movie viewing history is open for others to see. These aren’t major issues for me, but the knowledge that areas of my life are open to others is important. I find living alone can foster a mindset that keeps others and accountability at a safe distance, it takes work to allow others in and able to ask questions. What are other ways you have gatekeepers?
3. Prepare for the Attack
By nature there is something about establishing boundaries and building a wall of protection that invites an attack, the wall should serve as a message to steer clear, but it seems to be more like a magnet for attack at times. Setting a boundary of purity and keeping sex for marriage is counter-cultural. Songs, movies, television shows, magazines, conversations with colleagues, and the list could go on are often promoting sex and not encouraging a life of abstinence before marriage. Because of the boundary that I’ve set for purity and keeping sex for marriage, I just don’t need all of those reminders that I’m single with desires that will go unfulfilled until I marry. So I turn things off, change the station, look the other way, and do whatever I can to keep my mind from opening the gate. But what do you do when you’re blindsided by an unexpected attack in an area where you’ve established a gatekeeper and fortified the wall?
The story goes something like your widowed neighbor sells her house to a family and you end up learning just how thin those block walls are separating your homes, especially in the bedroom. How do you suggest to your new neighbors, whom you’ve only met a few times, that they need a more secure headboard or perhaps they lose their squeaky bed all together? It’s so bad that even while in the dining room on a lower level the knocking was more than I could handle. Seriously people, I can’t make this stuff up, it’s like the lobbing of a bomb over the city walls. I’ve tried banging on the wall to no avail, turning on music really loud, putting in earbuds, and I’m not sure what’s left besides selling the house. I refuse to allow this to invade my mind and be a rude and explosive reminder of my singleness and boundaries set. Setting a boundary does not mean all unwanted “stuff” will stay outside, the gates must be guarded, and creativity used for those times when surprise attacks try to tear down the wall.
It’s only by God’s strength that we can hold fast and defend the wall!
I Corinthians 16:13
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.
Defender of the faith!