Whoever Trusts in His Own Mind is a Fool
Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool,
but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.
- Proverbs 28:26
While the above proverb may seem counter-intuitive at first glance, yet it is perhaps the most profoundly helpful admonition or counsel from a friend that you will ever receive. Take the time to consider it. If a young man were to come to your door asking for wisdom, you could do not better than to impart him the counsel to never trust himself, or his own mind. That would not be a wasted word. As I consider my own life, the more than two decades I have been a Christian, I can only lament the times where I trusted my own mind. That â€˜idol factoryâ€™ I have in my heart is constantly at work, and is so prone to make poor choices, so above all we must â€œkeep our hearts". Thankfully, God does not leave us to ourselves, but has lovingly condescended to us to give us The Way of Wisdom. When Jesus calls us to deny ourselves and take us our cross, He does not leave us there to suffer alone â€¦ He has promised to be with us so in our self-denial He also calls us to â€œfollow Himâ€ in suffering ... and we can be assured that He knows the way home. And He gives us His word to direct our every step in His wisdom.
But why does the Holy Spirit call those who trust themselves a fool? Because we are but dust, sinful misguided creatures who have but a breath in their nostrils. Because we are a stiffnecked people who do not want Godâ€™s yoke on them who think they are free but are slaves to every form of depravity. And because all authority in Heaven and Earth has been given to Jesus who says to them, â€œâ€¦as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me (Luke 19:27). So while the world foolishly thinks that God is long in coming and will not judge them, Jesus, on the contrary, while He is now patient and merciful granting plenty of time for people to repent, there is a day soon when iniquity will finally reach its limits, and on that Day Jesus, with blazing fire in his eyes, will be invading with His armies who will judge the sons of men in the valley of decision:
And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. (Rev 19:14-16)
Therefore, trusting in oneâ€™s own way is the path of self-destruction. It is wanton rebellion against our King who made us, not for ourselves, but for Himself. And since He knows the rebelsâ€™ end He compassionately admonishes them to forsake their own paths. He offers pardon in advance of His judgment that if they ally themselves with Him, when He comes they will be considered His ally and He will raise them to Kingship. The self-centered alternative is to be under the eternal wrath God the Almighty.
But let me be clear about this; forsaking trust in yourself does not only yield fruit in eternity, but in the present. We can only, always regret it when we make decisions outside the revealed will of God. While this may seem all too obvious, I believe we need to remind one another of it daily. Now that we are part of Godâ€™s covenant family we need to constantly admonish each other to loose all confidence in the flesh and to glory only in Christ Jesus. To be not swayed by sin or so-called wisdom, for all wisdom is found in Jesus Christ alone, apart from whom we have no hope at all. God will use His word as a means of grace to preserve you. So do not forsake assembling together. The most miserable people on earth, I believe, are Christians who dabble in the world, and do not frequent the means. The fool is the one, God says, who chooses not to live each moment Coram Deo (before the Lord) refusing to do Godâ€™s work in Godâ€™s way. It is turning your back on Godâ€™s word and listening to your own voice. I know all to well that following Christ is usually not the most convenient way so donâ€™t fool yourself into thinking that because something is easy that it is necessarily Godâ€™s will. Weigh it against the word of God. Instead of trusting your own mind, the author of the Proverb says the one who walks in wisdom will be delivered. Well, what is the â€œway of wisdom?â€ It is a Christ-centered, God-honoring life. It is what we cry out for and seek with all our hearts above other things. It is to understand the fear of the Lord, walking ever before Him, for you are no longer your own, you have been bought at a price.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding. Prov 3:5
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
but a wise man listens to advice.