There’s a carpet that I’m not allowed to walk on in my mother’s dining room––that is unless I’m barefoot. That rule is just one of the many boundaries she sets to protect her most prized possessions. There’re suede chairs in her living room and only she and Pops can sit in them. Simply Lemonade in the fridge I won’t dare drink. China cups in cabinets I’m not bold enough to use, because if one breaks… Listen, you don’t want to break one of Venus’s glasses. And last, but certainly not least, there’s a Shih Tzu in the backyard I can’t chastise for being in the kitchen without mom rushing to his defense.
Though I love to tease my mom about her endless list of rules, she has successfully conditioned me to respect the things she loves. I know exactly where I may walk or sit in her house. I know which dishware to use and which to avoid. I don’t always agree with the limitations she sets, but at the end of the day, I love my mom, so I respect her boundaries. I follow all her rules and all her precious things stay precious, not dirtied, mistreated, or broken.
As we pursue purity, there are boundaries women battling lust must set to keep the most precious parts of us precious. Setting boundaries protects us from self-destructive behavior and teaches others how to respect us in relationship.
But where do we begin?
In the passages that follow, I’ve outlined four practical areas where you can set boundaries to protect your sexual integrity, along with actionable advice for guarding each area.
#1 | Relationships“Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” (1 Corinthians 15:33, ESV)
Set boundaries in your friendships and romances by holding your relationship with God most sacred. In your relationships, clearly communicate what kind of language and behavior is considered out-of-bounds for yourself and others. You might communicate to a guy, for example, that you’re not going to be physically intimate with anyone until you’re married. Or you may ask a girlfriend to stop encouraging you to hook up with someone. Confining your relationships to spiritual safety zones will prevent you from allowing others to occupy places in your heart reserved for God alone.
#2 | Entertainment
In Matthew 6:22 Jesus said, “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light.” Since what we consume visually has such an impact on our spirituality, it’s important that we establish boundaries in our entertainment by committing to watching media and engaging in activities that promote biblical sexuality. You don’t allow any ole’ person to speak into your life, right? Likewise, exercise discernment when selecting TV programs, movies, songs, books, comics, and games. As long as media is created by other human beings, you can guarantee that the messages will be embedded within each art form. Reject any form of entertainment that undermines God’s word and will for your life.
#3 | Environment
In Proverbs 5, Solomon warns the reader to say far from the door of the seductress. (Proverbs 5:8) Wisdom demands that we recognize the spiritual danger in keeping a close proximity to lust and sexual temptation. Set boundaries in your environment by avoiding sexually-charged gatherings, detoxing your space, and surrounding yourself with good company. It’s wise to avoid parties, clubs, stores, etc. where sexual sin is invited and encouraged. If your home contains anything that could cause you to stumble sexually, such as devices, pictures, or pornographic DVDs, trash them. Only participate in social gatherings with friends who’ll respect your convictions about purity.
#4 | Character
Set boundaries in your character by committing to honor God in all that you think, say, and do. Godly character begins with cultivating a godly thought-life by reading God’s word, meditating on it, and applying it to our daily lives. Filthiness, foolish talk, and crude jokes have no place in our mouths (Ephesians 5:4). Since our lives are an extension of our testimony about Christ, we seek to communicate God’s goodness in all that we do.
Now, I could’ve gone buck wild with an endless list of rules and “don’ts” when it comes to relationships, entertainment, environment, and character, but I didn’t. That’s because when it comes to establishing healthy boundaries for victory over sexual sin, you’ll have to personally exercise discernment, apply biblical wisdom, and navigate your own God-given convictions concerning the “gray areas.” Just make it your business to be honest with yourself about your own vulnerabilities and try not to use your Christian liberty as an opportunity to sin. (1 Peter 2:16)
Although there may be times you fear you’ll miss out by practicing radical purity, remember that these boundaries aren’t created to limit you, but to free you to experience God’s design for sexuality and the blessings therein.
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What are some boundaries you’ve set that have helped you maintain your sexual integrity? In which areas do you personally need to tighten up?