Do not be wise in your own eyes;

Fear the Lord and shun evil.

Proverbs 3:7 (NIV, 1984)

When Solomon was given the opportunity to ask of God the one thing he desired more than all others, he asked for a discerning heart. Because his request acknowledged God as the sole giver of wisdom, his request was immediately granted. Hundreds of years later, the Apostle James would exhort early believers who desired wisdom to ask it of the Lord and it would be granted to them. James spoke with confidence for he understood the Lord’s heart for His people to be known for possessing otherworldly wisdom that could be only attributed to their relationship with Him.

As important as wisdom is, it is a character trait, like humility, that cannot be boasted about by the individual possessing it. For example, in the same manner it is never appropriate for me to say, “I am probably the humblest person I know,” it is also unthinkable for me to say, “I am usually the wisest person in the room.” Why? For starters, I will likely be the only person possessing that opinion! And, more importantly, both humility and wisdom are more accurately judged by those more qualified to recognize it.

The issue, however, is not so much a matter of how wisdom is recognized, but rather the danger of living our lives as if our opinion or wisdom is all that matters. In the book of Judges, the writer repeats himself in 17:6 and 21:25 where he says, “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (ESV) There was no representative of God in their midst to point out their folly which led to the sin and degradation of an entire nation. Solomon’s words above clearly convey the inherent danger of allowing our own wisdom to be the default for determining our actions. Self-serving wisdom always undermines our fear of the Lord and our surrender to His ways.

I once heard it said that the Kingdom of God is ANYWHERE He rules and reigns in power. His Holy Spirit resides within all believers to provide discernment for living. To be guided solely by our own wisdom is to become spiritually nearsighted and susceptible to the painful fall that is surely to come.