Catacomb Resident Blog

Limited Engagement

20 April 2022

The teaching of Covenant boundaries in Scripture warn us again and again that we cannot treat outsiders on the same level as insiders. This is extremely hard on us right now, because there are so few people actually espousing the Covenant as a covenant. How many people do you know that recognize a valid covenant community must be tribal and feudal? Do you know anyone who understands that Christ plainly set boundaries to Christian behavior?

Yes, your convictions must affirm those boundaries, or you will not be able to keep them. But it's not just a matter of conviction. Rather, your convictions must support what Our Lord has said. You still need to know that there is divine law in the Covenant of Christ that manifests for us what the boundaries look like in certain contexts. Your convictions will guide you in manifesting them freshly, for this lawful behavior is our privilege and testimony. The rest of the world is not able to walk where we walk.

I'm not going to tell you that you can't have friends outside of a covenant community, but Scripture is clear that you cannot get very close to them. A covenant brother is a whole different thing from a secular social acquaintance. You should always prefer for the former, and you darned sure better not date or marry outside the Covenant. I am fully aware of how this isolates us in America today. Christ warned that following Him would split families, and I can witness to that personally. I can count on one hand the number of people in my real world vicinity who even understand my Covenant commitment.

Again, this is a very hard burden to bear, yet we must bear it. You cannot afford to dilute your witness by letting non-covenant people get close to you. That means you are to some degree socially aloof at all times. It doesn't mean being unkind, but it does mean drawing distinct boundaries.

The most obvious boundary is romance, as noted above. You'll turn aside every overture unless you sense that the other is amenable to embracing the Covenant, once they find out about it. And if you are already in a non-covenant marriage, prepare for a very rough ride. It will be the source of endless conflict. But even the common casual friendships are limited. You dare not share certain things about yourself with those outside the Covenant. Your first duty is to warn folks you belong to a Covenant faith that sets boundaries, and that you cannot engage outsiders very much.

It pays to pray long and hard about this. You'll need to query your convictions a lot. Where is the proper boundary for each person? What sort of things will you need to say to establish the context? Work is one thing; there is a cultural presumption of social limits being normal. School is a whole lot tougher, because it creates a herd mentality to is very hard to break. Military service is even harder, as the "camaraderie" thing is mandatory.

Your biggest problem is that, if you truly walk in faith, you'll become quite a magnet to a lot of people who aren't fully conscious of why they are drawn to you. There are countless folks out there just looking for someone to help them anchor life against the growing insanity of our world. You can do that to some degree, but they'll expect you to lower all kinds of barriers that the Spirit says must remain in place. You'll risk generating hard feelings from folks who just don't understand.

One of the best ways to get a grip on this is a parable: As a Covenant believer, you are an alien creature from another dimension. You don't belong here, but were sent here to testify of the truth. A lot of your fellow aliens are trapped in self-deception about their true nature.

Work on spiritual sensitivity. You need to know when the demons are lurking, not as paranoia, but as simple recognition. If you are faithful to the Covenant boundaries, they can't do much to you. They'll lie about it, so make sure you are reading convictions on the issue. Work with the person and help them catch a glimpse of the demon-free life. Still, if you allow the wrong kind of fellowship with outsiders, their demons come with that; you'll allow them inside your hedge of protection. Know the boundaries.

You can do this. The Father never demands things that He doesn't empower you to do. Still, this is a very hard path right now. A true Covenant commitment makes you quite alien to the rest of America.

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