Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. ~ Proverbs 3:7
This is a small verse but it packs a lot of punch. We are simply reminded here that we don’t always have all the facts and that our opinions are just that – opinions. If you google the word opinion you’ll find this definition: a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge. Too many of us believe our opinions to be fact and this verse warns us against this type of arrogance. The NLT puts it this way, “don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.” How many times have you made an assumption to find out later you were wrong? How many times have you jumped to a conclusion that you later realized was faulty? Or how many times have you realized that you held an opinion based on misinformation? I have done all of these more times than I can count. We all have.
Instead of relying on our own wisdom, the author of this proverb tells us to “fear the Lord.” Yes, fear the Lord! If you look up the definition for the word fear in Strong’s Concordance you will find “to stand in awe of” or “be in awe.” God knows all. He sees all. He has it all together. He doesn’t have opinions, He speaks the truth. Isn’t that something to be in awe of!?!
Furthermore, this verse tells us to turn away from evil. Does that mean being wise in our own eyes is evil? Yes, I believe that is exactly what we are being told. The arrogant attitude that believes it has it all together, that believes it understands all, and believes it has all knowledge is completely opposite of the humble attitude that Jesus has instructed us to have (Romans 12:16; James 4:6; James 4:7-10; 1Peter 5:5-6). When we maintain this arrogant attitude we are in direct disobedience to our Lord – dare I say, we are sinning. Turning away from evil is a two step process. If we turn away from one thing, then it stands to reason, that we must turn toward another. In this case if we turn away from evil, we must turn toward what is good.
The Bible instructs to keep our eyes on what is good (Philippians 4:8-9). All things that are good come from, and are of, the Lord. So when we seek to turn towards what is good we must seek Jesus – the One who speaks truth and possesses all wisdom. We find His truth and His wisdom through prayer, by being in His Word, and in relationships with fellow believers. God wants us to know His truth. God wants us to have His wisdom. So when we decided to “be not wise in (our) own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil” we will find true and never-changing wisdom in the Lord.