Why do we push the boundaries?

Why do we push the boundaries?

So why do we drive close to the cliff edge. Why do we push the boundaries? In 1 Corinthians 10, Paul talks about those who “Test Christ.”

Whilst the Corinthians saw this as a sign of their maturity and spiritual strength, I think it’s a sign of weakness not strength of doubt not faith.Parents, Sunday Club leaders, etc. are amazing people. They love the children in their care patiently and unconditionally. Deep down, the kids know this. But what do they do? They test you. They push the boundaries. Partly that’s because they want to know what they can get away with and partly I think there’s a desire to prove whether or not you really do love them.  Sometimes you sense that youngsters almost want the test to fail, they want to push the boundary to breaking point especially if they believe that they are unlovable.

We can do this in church life, pushing the boundaries with others, seeing how far we can stretch their patience.  Wondering when they will snap. Am I really loved, do I really belong?  I think we do it with God at times as well. In fact, going back to the garden of Eden, that’s one of the root causes of sin. Adam and Eve are tempted to believe that God does not really love him and so they test him. The Israelites in the wilderness test God because they lose faith. They don’t believe he has their best interests at heart. They think he has led them into the wilderness to die.

So what’s the antidote to this?  Well, I think there are a few things.

  1. Look around (present grace). We need the encouragement, fellowship and support of other believers. Don’t get isolated from them. Don’t get isolated from your church family either by getting out of the habit of coming together for worship ro by only having contact on Sundays. Part of present grace is what is sometimes called “The means of grace” communion and baptism as reminders of God’s grace to us.
  2. Look backwards (past grace). Remember what God has done for you and for his people in the past. That’s why personal testimony is a great help. That’s why it’s important to spend time in Scripture.
  3. Look forwards (Future Grace). God has kept his promises in the past and he will keep his promises in the future. Present trials are temporary. We have eternity with Christ to look forward to.

8 thoughts on “Why do we push the boundaries?

    • Hi Club, That’s a different thing to what we’re looking at in 1 Corinthians. In Malachi 3 there’s a call to test God but it’s a positive 1, do something right in obedience & faith. When we trust someone we test or prove their willingness & ability to love and be reliable. It’s a bit more along the lines of testing the weight of something or ” Taste and see that the Lord is good” Here we are talking about pushing boundaries to see what you can get away with.


      • Dave, it is your opinion that one test is better than another since testing is always looking to find evidence that something assumed is true. The bible says in one place to test this god and in another says one should never test this god. The term test is exactly the same in both places. If it is okay in one place then it should be okay in another. Otherwise, any indication that it is okay to test is a false one, predicated on the believer accepting that any response is evidence of this god. The “test” is rigged.

        One can indeed taste (test) and see that the lord is good. If that test fails, then there is no reason to think that the lord is good, and the test has shown that the lord doesn’t even exist.

        We also have Gideon pushing boundaries and this god had no problem. We had Abraham test this god and again, repeatedly questioning this god and its actions this god has no problem. But Christians claim that an atheist can’t test this god with the same requests and questions. As indicated above, if the test isn’t rigged, it seems that Christians don’t want a test at all.


      • Hi Club,

        No we are talking about different things. 1.Remember that the article you are responding to isn’t about atheism and apologetics. Most of the articles on this site are not to do with that question. I think I’ve tried to explain this before. So this article is about/for Christians who know God exists and believe in him and have experienced his goodness but act in ways that are unloving, selfish maybe even hurtful to others and self destructive. That’s the context and purpose of the article and so it may not be directly relevant to your situation as you are still considered whether or not to believe in God. You might find some of the other articles about God , evidence etc on this site and the links provided more directly relevant. 2. Another way of seeing how context matters might be to think about how the words test and trial are used differently in everyday English. So for example if your driving instructor tests your knowledge of the Highway code that’s a good thing but if your child tests your patience then the word is used negatively. Similarly, a few football players have had trials in Bradford. One of them went to prison as a result. The other got a contract with the football team.


      • Hi Club, It keeps coming back to what I said at the start we’re talking cross purposes because this article isn’t about apologetics or investigating truth claims. It’s about destructive behaviour. Read it in conjunction with the ones either side.

        Again we need to come back to the point that a word like test can have different positive or negative implications depending on context. I will maybe write a little more on this next week.

        Nb I think that when you look at examples such as Thomas there is a challenge even to them did you really need to test in that way better for those who have faith who don’t see. The point being that Thomas refused to believe what the others had seen and th st he too had opportunity to see until a Jesus met his own personal criteria/ standards


      • Testing only can show truth or not truth. For example, a child is testing the claims of his parents. In any case, it is good to know the truth and to know if something is false. If one is told never to test, as many Christians state regarding theit god and their claims, it is saying that one should never question and never want the truth. It is very easy to say that asking questions is “destructive behavior” if one either doesn’t want to answer the questions or can’t answer the questions. Again, you say that testing can have a negative connotation. How can this be if testing is investigating what is claimed?

        Thomas’s question to JC was a challenge and a test and JC had no problem with providing evidence. So, in your very own bible, there is nothing that says one shouldn’t challenge. JC does tell him that those who believe with blind faith are somewhat better off, but again, had no problem at all in offering the evidence. It is only now, when there is no evidence that Christians ignore their bible and insist that testing is very bad. You wish to claim that your interpretation is the only correct one, that Thomas refused to believe what the others has seen. He didn’t have an opportunity to see at all, not until JC himself offered the evidence and then he believed. One can make the argument that Thomas was the one who only trusted in Jesus; he knew not to trust anyone else.

        Now, since JC himself had no problem with testing him/God, why do you? And if questioning is okay, why did I get nothing as a Christian who was doubting and needed evidence? Now, here is where most Christians refuse to answer the question and insist that they cannot explain their god’s actions, though not more than a post before were tell me why God did “x” and “y”.

        I’m still curious on the question regarding baptism I asked before. Do you believe a certain way is the only way to be truly baptized? And if you do not, why not?


  1. Hi Club, No problems with asking questions, reasoning, researching etc. I’m sorry that you don’t think you got answers when you asked questions in your own past. As I said before, it’s not what this article is about! So by destructive behaviour, pushing the boundaries to test God I’m thinking about things inc violence, abuse, alcohol and drug abuse, harbouring bitterness, jealousy, adultery, unfaithfulness, porn, racism, being cruel, gossip, slander etc. So I’m not dealing with asking questions or looking for evidence at all here. Most of the articles on this site are not primarily about defending Christianity. Not that there is the a place for such discussions, just that this isn’t the reason we set this site up.

    Re baptism I think I answered you on that article thread. But very quickly we believe in baptism by immersion for believers. BUT as baptism is an external sign then I don’t think that’s the most important thing to worry about. So we have fellowship with other churches/Christians who take a different view.


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