In the book of Proverbs there are many stereotypical characters with colourful introductions. There is the sluggard with his comically pathetic excuses, the fool named accordingly, the mocker with his loud mouth, the simpleton thriving on naïvety, the wicked in contrast to the righteous, and, not to be left out, is the man who is wise in his own eyes.

The man who is wise in his own eyes is the one who considers himself to be OK all by himself. He might not consider himself to be the wisest of all, but he is content to figure it out for himself. He doesn’t have any serious counsellors, has no meaning friendships, and makes even the most serious of decisions by merely sharing his thoughts and opinions with himself. He is not quick to listen, and even slower to ask for help and advice. Where he is currently at in life, is where he will remain.

The occasional mention of this character in Proverbs is enough for us never ever again to say “I’ll just figure life out for myself”!

To start with, Proverbs 3:7 prohibits mankind from being such a person with the command “Be not wise in your own eyes”. It continues by instilling the fear of God in us and by submitting us to God’s standard of right and wrong. Don’t “just figure it out for myself”; instead, get to know God and figure out what He requires of you.

In Proverbs 12:15 the fool who is always wise in his own eyes is contrasted with a man who listens to advice. The pride of thinking you’ll figure it out on your own, needs to submit to the humility of knowing you won’t figure it out on your own. You need a friend who will give you better advice than you would give yourself. You need a counsellor who will direct your attention to things you never even considered. You need a guide who will tell you where to go even when you don’t feel like it. You need an encourager who will push you forward when you want to withdraw.

Together, Proverbs 26:5 and Proverbs 26:12 are a serious wake-up call to those who are wise in their own eyes. You are cutting off all hope of a successful life if you think you’ll just figure it out on your own.

Therefore, do not be wise in your own eyes. Open your Bible, learn the fear of the Lord, and with the input from faithful friends, learn, grow, change, and walk in the good ways that you could never figure out on your own.