Do You Trust Yourself Too Much?

If our minds are our ultimate governors then we are nothing more than fools

“What the Bible is not saying is that you can’t trust yourself to observe whether a car is coming and it is safe to cross. Of course you  can do this. However, what it is getting at is the fact that fallen humanity, sinners, are inclined towards foolishness.”

 

I trust myself. A lot. This occurred to me afresh awhile back while I was out running. As I prepared to cross the street, in a familiar neighborhood, I surprised myself by not even looking to see if there was a car coming. This is because, as I reasoned to myself, I would hear a car coming if it was nearby.

We can debate the wisdom of this type of road safety skills (and I’ll probably join you in saying it’s unwise). However, it is illustrative of the commonly experienced bigger truth that we do trust ourselves. We have to. We make quick decisions based upon quick glances from our eyes. We answer questions quickly and confidently. We anticipate and react. And, by in large, we are pretty good with our ability to make these decisions.

This is why a passage like Proverbs 28.26 is so repulsive to our self-sufficiency and personal goodness:

Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered. (Proverbs 28:26)
That was strongly worded. Yes, and it was true.

What the Bible is not saying is that you can’t trust yourself to observe whether a car is coming and it is safe to cross. Of course you  can do this. However, what it is getting at is the fact that fallen humanity, sinners, are inclined towards foolishness rather than wisdom.

In fact, the entirety of the book of Proverbs is arguing for people to give ear to wisdom instead of foolishness (cf. Prov. 4). In chapter 9 you have Lady Wisdom and Lady Folly (a kind name for a bad lady) calling out from opposing sides of the street, as it were. Where will you go? What will you do? Don’t go the way of folly. Get wisdom! (cf. Prov. 4.5-9).

What does it mean to walk in wisdom? At the heart of it is the submission of one’s mind, heart and life to the Scriptures.

In a familiar verse we read:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your flesh
and refreshment to your bones. (Proverbs 3:5-8)

This leads to the keeping of one’s heart.

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