Life Hack #16: Restraint is Key

Life Hack #16:

Oh listen, dear child—become wise; point your life in the right direction. Don’t drink too much wine and get drunk; don’t eat too much food and get fat. Drunks and gluttons will end up on skid row, in a stupor and dressed in rags. (Proverbs 23:19-21)

It might seem a little restrictive, but if you look at the reasoning behind each of these "hacks", there seems to be this theme of "safety", "well-being", and "overall protection". Is this a hard and fast rule to avoid the consumption of alcohol and rich foods? If we examine this in the context of the principles being taught, 
we find this is a principle to guide us into choices which are "moderated" by wisdom and common sense in our lives. It isn't a debate over the merits or demerits of consuming alcohol as much as it is a call for us to make all decisions about these life choices with wisdom, guided by the Holy Spirit, and within the boundaries of moderation.

The appeal is to listen and become wise - to keep our lives headed in the right direction so we avoid the pitfalls of unwise choices. We may not be making the wisest of choices if the overuse of alcohol is at the point of being drunk, or over-indulgence in those rich foods has led to excessive weight gain. It isn't a debate over whether we may consume wine, but a reminder of the excesses associated with any behavior we might engage in which could ultimately bring harm to our body, soul, or spirit.

I have no 'taste' for alcohol - it never appealed to me. I didn't want to give myself to something which "lowers" my "inhibitions" because I know how weak I can become when they are lowered. Maybe this is the reason behind our instruction today - to make us more aware of the excesses which can result when we are not fully in control of our inhibitions. When we are in control of those things which act as "restraints" toward certain behaviors, we are indeed in a much better place than when we are not.

Inhibitions are those things which restrict our behavior in one way or another. It is what keeps us from just blurting out all the things we might think, recognizing not all we think needs to be heard! Sometimes inhibitions work because there is a fear of punishment if we make the wrong decision - such as when we were caught in a lie or speeding down the roadway. Most inhibitions are learned behaviors which are associated with reward for the right choice and punishment for the wrong. In time, we develop a "set" of inhibitory "rules" which act as restraints in our lives. If we don't develop these, we live a pretty haphazard and not well-founded life. This is what God is really after - those things which give us a solid foundation which we can consistently rely upon when making decisions. 

Restraint is key. It is us allowing God to develop healthy levels of restraint, not so much because we fear some punishment if we don't exercise restraint, but because we have come to see the wisdom in restraint. If you have areas in your life where restraint has been lacking, take them to God and he can restructure your life in those area. He has the ability to transition us from loosely held standards to those which will be more consistently in line with the principles taught in the Word. Just sayin!


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