[b]God Has Drawn A Circle around Each Person[/b]
[i]by Zac Poonen[/i]
God, in His sovereignty, has given a particular ministry to each and every member in the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:7,8). We could say that God has drawn a circle around each person. In some cases the circle is very large and in some cases it is very small (Matt. 25:15). Within your own circle, you can find God (Acts 17:26,27). Outside your circle, you can only destroy yourself, by being a busybody in other people's matters. Peter says that instead of suffering as a busybody in other people's matters, we should judge ourselves and suffer in our own flesh (1 Pet. 4:15,17,1). For example: How another brother brings up his children or spends his money, is really none of our business. That is outside our circle. God has given us no authority in another's circle. Therefore we should take heed only to ourselves (1 Tim. 4:16).
When we were in the world, we could say that we had made a very large circle for ourselves that involved having opinions about many people and many matters. But now we must be careful to stay within the circle that God has drawn around us as individuals. In most cases, that is a circle that contains only one person - yourself! If you are a parent, the circle will take in your family as well. If you are an elder in a church, the circle will take in those in your church. But in almost all other cases, each person has to judge only himself. It is when we transgress and go beyond the boundaries of our own circle that fellowship with others is destroyed; and our own sanctification is hindered as well.
We are commanded to "be subject to one another in the fear of Christ" (Eph. 5:21). This means that the fear of Christ should make us afraid to tread into another's circle. We will restrain ourselves in our fellowship with each other, so as not to be a busybody in matters that do not concern us.
Curiosity is a deadly but undetected sin in the lives of many believers. This is one of the earliest manifestations of being a busybody in other people's matters. Children are usually curious to eavesdrop and listen in on the conversations of others. Paul said, "When I became a man, I put away childish things" (1 Cor. 13:11). But most believers do not put away this evil habit even after growing up. Such curiosity finally leads them to the still more evil habit of gossiping. Those who practice this habit, that is characteristic of old women, will find that they are unable to discipline themselves to lead a godly life (See 1 Tim. 4:7). Pornography also is but Satan's way of satisfying the evil curiosity in the flesh to see the naked bodies of others.
Jesus was tempted like us to be curious too. But He steadfastly refused to go outside the circle that His Father had drawn around Him. Thus He never sinned even once in this area in His 33½ years on earth. When we see how weak we are in this area of curiosity, we can understand what a mighty accomplishment Jesus' victory was in this area alone. To be curious to know who is getting married to whom, and who is going to have a baby next, etc, is the pastime of ungodly people. No wholehearted brother or sister will ever engage in such a pastime.
Going beyond the boundaries of one's circle can also be seen in the way some elders, husbands and parents lord it over those who are to be subject to them. We must never terrify our children or put a pressure on our wife or on the other brothers in the church, in any way. The words of Elihu are very fitting here, "No fear of me should terrify you, nor should my pressure weigh heavily on you" (Job 33:7). Each of us should be careful to ensure that those who are under our authority in any way (children, wife, servants, believers, etc.) never feel terrified or pressurised or threatened. It is very easy to go beyond our boundaries when we have power over others. Then fellowship is destroyed.
A husband can so dominate his wife, as to crush her personality. This is foolish. God has made a husband and wife different from each other, so that each can be a help to the other. In viewing any issue, you as a husband may view it from one angle, and your wife from another. That would be like your taking a photograph of a building from the north side and your wife taking a picture of the same building from the south side. When the two pictures are laid side by side, they may look completely different. But only thus do you get a complete view of the building. You would be a foolish husband then, if you demolished your wife's individuality, so as to make her take every photograph from your viewpoint alone! The loss will then be yours. If you had allowed her to be herself, you could have obtained another view of the matter that would have enlarged your own understanding of it, and made you wiser. Here is where many a husband has to cleanse himself of his folly.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon