“I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”

I’m sure you’ve heard this said to you as often as I have.  It’s a word of warning, usually from someone who’s gone before us and has the scar to show for why we would be wise to follow their counsel.

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It may be a small thing or it may be life-changing, but there are times we need the counsel of others to restrain us from emotional and ill-conceived decisions.  They guide us and offer to prevent us from mistakes. They cast light on the confusion of our moments.

Did you know this is a gift from the Lord?  Proverbs 29:18 reminds us…

Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction.

Proverbs 29:18
New International Version

In the original language of the Proverbs (Hebrew), the word for “revelation” could also be translated as “vision”.  Regardless of how it’s translated into English, the concept refers to the divine communications to prophets.  The visions or revelations received by the Lord’s prophets would then be conveyed to the Lord’s people.

Whereas many of us who are “people of the book” understand the idea of heeding the written instructions of the Lord, this Proverb also reminds us of the value of listening to those who have a word from the Lord for us.

Even though someone’s vision or revelation is not on the same level as the supernaturally-inspired word of God, the idea is that these “revelations” also serve to support and guide us.

Without listening to this support, people will “cast off restraint”.  They will live undisciplined lives.  When the people of God do not heed the word of those in their lives who have spiritual authority over them, rebellion ensues. 

However, when we apply their wisdom and guidance to the word of God in our hearts, we are blessed.  We are then capable of living disciplined, organized lives.  Instead of bouncing from crisis to crisis, we are able to walk calmly through the storms of life.

Perhaps you don’t think you have a “prophet” in your life.  I would imagine they are there, but you might not recognize them. 

In my life, these people take many forms and while they may not stand before me and declare the word of the Lord, their words guide and direct me in the way of the Master.

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Their revelation or vision becomes a tutor for me.  I gain the benefit of a new facet of restraint because of their interaction with me. They help me hit the target by helping my focus.

Let this remind us of one more in a list of thousands of reasons why we need close relationships with other Christians: they can speak truth and life into us.  Other Christians can guide us far better than our hearts can sometimes. 

Lord willing, you will be that visionary for someone else.  I pray the Lord gives you that honor as well. 

Know who those “prophets” are in your life.  Thank the Lord for them.  Consider their words and guidance.  They may not always be right (they are human, after all!), but to quickly dismiss and ignore their wisdom might prove our undoing.

Embrace the wisdom the Lord has placed in your life through others.  Rest in the restraint they will teach you.  And pass that on to others with the gift of encouraging someone else.