Paul told both Titus and Timothy not to appoint leaders in the church whose house was not in order. A man who has established clear boundaries for himself will most likely make a good father. A man whose family is not living within the boundaries he has set is very likely to be a poor leader.
The writer of Proverbs says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old HE WILL NOT DEPART FROM IT.” Peer pressure among teens is powerful. If disciplinary patterns have not been set before children go out to school, they will find it virtually impossible to stand against this pressure. One teenager recently said in a letter, “The inescapable pressure exerted by peers are often too hard to handle. The only answer,” he continued, “is to have a source from which to draw strength. This strength can only come from the home. A weak home produces weak kids, unable to defend themselves.” Setting the boundaries AND supervising the results is what good training methods consist of – at home, in business, IN CHURCH.
Setting boundaries also gives clear SELF-IDENTITY to the individual. God’s Word says we are “a peculiar people”, uniquely DIFFERENT! We are meant to be HOLY! We are commanded to be holy. The world is getting more and more UNHOLY! I am meant to identify as a JONES – not a “SHONES”! If Ma and Pa Jones set clearly defined boundaries for me and helped me to stay within them, then when I function as a child of God’s Family, I’m not going to take on the X-rated ways of the “Shones’s” – the world’s ways. I’m going to be identified as a uniquely different, peculiar person!
Finally, operating under a set of clearly defined boundaries (standards) helps me to have a clearly defined WITNESS. If I see a sloppy room, I will probably see a person with a foggy witness. I don’t want to do business with people who keep a messed up business establishment. Who wants to be treated by a doctor operating out of a messy clinic? I can trust in ORDER. I find DISORDER to be UN-trustworthy. Leaders are meant – first and foremost – to set an example for people to follow. That’s being a witness!
Most of you who are reading these letters are already beginning families of your own. More of you will soon be starting your own household. Determine for yourself NOW that you will place yourself under the sensible, practical oversight of God’s ordained leader for you. And determine that you, with the help of God, are going to be a strong and loving parent with clear-intentioned purpose for the sake of the children with whom God blesses you. Remember, you are CO-WORKERS with God, and He will bless you and help you, as you seek very determinedly to produce MEN of God and WOMEN of God – mature and strong members of the Body of Christ.
Set boundaries – ACCORDING TO HIS WORD – for yourself and for your offspring! Don’t wait! Do it now! Times are getting tougher and tougher every day! The Psalmist says, “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 set the Lord ALWAYS before me!” (Psalm 16:5-6, 8a NIV).
From Jay Fesperman’s “Letters of Exhortation”, Number 20, March 1982.