The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.
Every fool thinks he is right. He cannot think otherwise. He thinks everyone else is wrong. A wise man learns to resent his own thoughts. He knows they are selfish, biased, and deceitful. Instead he listens attentively and submissively to the counsel of others, for he knows they are speaking with less selfishness, bias, and deceit than his heart thinks.
Man is corrupt from the inside out. His heart – the internal place of affections, motives, and choices – is the most corrupt part of all. The Bible declares the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, which indicts it horribly (Jer 17:9). Who can truly know the perverse nature of their heart? Not you, unless you believe the Bible.
By nature, you hate God, wisdom, correction, and those who correct you. By nature, you love yourself, presume you are right, and believe you do everything better than others. The only reason you ever fail is someone else’s fault or bad circumstances. You have every base covered to continue believing you were and are always right. What folly!
To crawl out of this cesspool of human pride and rebellion, you must learn to mistrust, criticize, and resent your own thoughts. This is one of the toughest challenges of wisdom, for with powerful instincts and lusts you want to protect and follow your thoughts. It is the ultimate exercise in humility to admit your own error and accept another’s opinion.
The single best measure of wisdom is your ability to crush your own thoughts and receive instruction. This is the most common point made by Solomon throughout the book of Proverbs. He constantly appeals to his hearers to receive instruction, knowing that their hearts naturally rebel against any advice or ideas contrary to their own.
Each man must come to God and Scripture in total trust and submission. A holy esteem must be formed for every precept; a holy hatred must be cultivated for every contrary thought (Ps 119:128). Solomon wrote, “Trust in the lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding” (Pr 3:5). “Be not wise in thine own eyes” (Pr 3:7).
You must silence your screaming heart. Crave wisdom, and admit it is not in you by nature. Acknowledge that only God truly has real wisdom. Prove all things by Scripture (I Thess 5:21; Acts 17:11). Use a multitude of wise counselors for practical decisions (Pr 11:14; 15:22; 24:6). Keep your heart diligently and strictly (Pr 4:23; Is 8:20).
Daily choices bring your heart into play. Fools listen to their hearts; wise men consult God’s word. Fools reject others’ instruction and warnings; wise men love and seek them. Do not be content thinking you are right; make sure you are right by these two criteria.