Do Circumstances Have the Power To Limit You?

If our heart is submitted to  the Lord, the only limits we have are the limits of His will for our lives.

Have you ever been reading the Bible and suddenly something jumped out at you that nearly knocked you off your chair?

It happened to me the other day. Proverbs 4: 23 proclaims one of my favorite Old Testament life themes: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (NIV, 1984). I wanted to get the sense of this idea of “wellsprings.”

Most versions translate it in more or less the same way, but the version that socked me was a French one called the Ecumenical Translation of the Bible. “Be vigilant in watching over your heart because the limits of your life depend on it (your heart).”

Does this mean that my life is not limited by something that’s outside of me but only what’s inside of me? It sounds that way. But, is this translation correct? After all it’s … ecumenical!

I looked up the “wellspring” word, (totsaah in Hebrew), in Strong’s lexicon. He defined the word they had translated as “limits” as: “’totsaah’ ; (only in plural collective) exit, i.e. (geographical) boundary, or (figuratively) deliverance, (actively) source:–border(-s), going(-s) forth (out), issues, outgoings.”

I found that 21 of the 23 times the word is used in the Bible, it’s speaking about boundaries, frontiers (Numbers 34:8 is an example). I know that a word is often understood in its context and I don’t quibble with the translation, “wellspring” because that’s also powerful but the word, totsaah, is rich.

And what if, just what if, my life isn’t determined by what happens TO me but instead is determined by what happens IN me? What if my boundaries, my limits, are inside me, and not someone or some circumstance outside me? What if it’s only me who keeps me from achieving the dreams that God puts in my heart?

We’ve got to be careful here, I know. We’ve heard it said, “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it.” Often that’s true but when we achieve what we imagined, it’s not always what we thought it would be.

And I can imagine me singing at the Metropolitan Opera, but if I’m singing there I hope it’s a comic opera because someone is going to get a lot of laughs (and it won’t be me!) I can practice and work and study but I suspect at the end I’ll still be an average singer.

But, God has placed some big dreams in my heart that are achievable with the gifts He’s given me, the power and help of His Spirit, and hard work.

The key is developing this life of the heart, this life that’s really the source of who you are. We can expand the limits of our life with the help of the Lord. He can help us believe in all that He’s called us to do.
When you put your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, God, by His Holy Spirit comes to live in your heart of hearts. When His will reigns in the center of who you are, it changes your actions, it inspires your dreams!

That’s why the Lord wasn’t afraid to promise, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Ps. 37:4, NIV 1984). If the Lord Jesus really reigns in your heart, those dreams which spring from the center of who you are, will be from Him.

What if finding the will of God isn’t the laborious process we sometimes make it? What if it is just a matter of falling in love with the Lord more and more?

Once someone proposed a job to me that I wanted to do. Sometimes, I’m a bit oversensitive and think I have to go through all sorts of “contortions” to find God’s will. But, this proposition came during a period when the Lord seemed particularly close and I remembered this verse, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

I was doing that, so I figured that the desires of my heart must be what he wanted. It was one of the most fulfilling years of my life.

Watch over your heart! Work on that inner man. If your heart is right and strong and full of faith the only limits you have are the limits of God’s will for you. Otherwise, there’s not a circumstance or a person in time or eternity which can stop you.

“Be vigilant in watching over your heart because the limits of your life depend on it (your heart).”


Based on the way we are living, the choices we are making, the seed we are sowing … what are we ‘poised’ for?  Terry Hoggard

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