Of Being Wise in Our Own Eyes

Of Being Wise in Our Own Eyes

In our church-shopping, individualistic culture, we would be wise to take into consideration the warnings in Scripture against only doing what is right in our own eyes. There is great wisdom in learning from the spiritual giants of the past who wrestled down important theological issues far better than we are likely to do today.

Ever notice that we have become a nation of consumers? We love restaurants with giant menus that offer burgers and tacos, sushi and pasta, sandwiches and steaks. And we want that restaurant to be happy to reconfigure anything at our request without complaint. We want our phones to make musical playlists that play only the songs we thumbs-up and never expose us to the unfamiliar. We have come to expect that we have the right to only experience what we like.

This is also true in the church. We want a church that plays the music we like in the way that we like. We want a fellowship that is made up of people who look like us and have our same hobbies. We even want to b able to pick and choose which parts of the church’s doctrine we hold to and which we ignore.

There is a phrase in Scripture that has my attention: “right in his own eyes.” When you read that phrase, you probably think of the end of the book of Judges, though I recently ran across it in Deuteronomy.

You shall not do according to all that we are doing here today, everyone doing whatever is right in his own eyes…
—Deuteronomy 12:8 (See also Judges 17:6; 21:25; and Proverbs 12:15; 16:2; 21:2; 26:5; 26:12; 26:16; 28:11.)

As the Lord led his people, he repeatedly spoke of people doing what was right in their own, individual eyes. And every single time God talks about it, God condemns it—every time. In Deuteronomy and in Judges, the thought is that the nation was not to determine its worship or its morality by their own personal opinions. Instead, the people were to submit to the Lord’s word. In Proverbs, the common thread is that a man who is wise in his own eyes, a man who will not learn from others or receive counsel from others, is actually a fool.

Think well, dear Christian friend, about how well you receive counsel and wisdom from others. When you think of your theology, as an example, to whom do you submit? Are you picking and choosing doctrines based on your wisdom alone? Or are your thoughts actually shaped by the wisdom of others who have gone before you?

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