“Where there is no vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed are those who keeps the law.” – Proverbs 29:18
For clarity sake the word restrain means to hold back, to prevent from doing, or expressing something. To keep under control, to moderate or limit. Restraint simply means to have control over the expression of one’s emotions or thoughts.
Restraint is the one area that everyone without exception must show in all aspects of life! Obviously there are those who exhibit restraint better than others and most everyone at one time or another has shown less restraint than they should at times.
Let’s be clear, the removal of restraint is usually neither excusable nor amusing. In fact, restraining ourselves is so important that God lists it as a fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. Self-control, another word for restraint, is honored by the Lord as the “anchor virtue” in this list of qualities. In a world where many will tell you to “let it all hang out” and “hold nothing back” it can be confusing. But when we go to God’s Word we find contrary counsel!
As an example: When we are angered God instructs us to restrain ourselves. Want proof? “Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts foolishness” (Proverbs 14:29) “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). “A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back” (Proverbs 29:11).
Removing restraint from your life may seem exciting at the moment, but it inevitably leads to tragedy. It’s a lot like removing the brakes from your vehicle! It may be daring (although stupid) and filled with thrills for a while, but injury is certain. Take away the brakes and your life, like your vehicle, is transformed into an unguided missile – destined for disaster!
If we take Proverbs 29:18 seriously, having a vision for one’s life is critical to showing restraint! What’s your vision in life?
Here’s a few things to act upon: Mediate on the verses mentioned in this article and then figure out how best to apply these verses in your life as well as help others to do the same.