My Way or the Highway

my-way“My way or the Highway” is a popular way to describe football coaches, CEOs, or some other authoritarian leader. As long as we are not the ones on the end of the highway part, we often think this is the way to make decisions and to provide leadership.

The problem is that “my way” often is just that. It is all about the person–dictatorial, uncaring, and actually not very wise.

Think of what the Bible says about this. “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). Do we really want to be part of the “God opposes the proud?” It would be better to be on the highway part of a proud, authoritarian personality.

Yesterday morning I spent time memorizing and meditating about Proverbs 28:26. I have read this verse before, but yesterday I understood it like never before. Read this slowly and notice what it really says. Like Hebrew poetry generally and the Proverbs in particular, it is made up of two parts. In this case the parts are opposites, the correct Hebrew description is antithetical parallelism.

“Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.” That is about as straight forward look at life as you can get.

We get two choices. Which will you choose? In the first, you receive whatever your own mind can come up with. Most people live this way. They make decisions out of their limited education or limited experience. They know what they want to do, and they do it. Government, educational institutions, physicians, pastors, and many others make their choices this way. We are now reaping the consequences of our own way of thinking.

Can the Scripture be any more plain? “Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool.”

That phrase describes most of my decisions. I make up my mind what I want to do, and I do it.

That is to live and act like a fool. I receive out of it what I put in it–which is not very much.

But the second part is just as plain. “But he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.”

I want to be delivered. Another translation says the the person who walks in wisdom will be safe.

In Proverbs, wisdom takes on the characteristics of a person, particularly in Proverbs 8. I’ve always had trouble understanding what that meant.

The following seems to be the idea.

Wisdom comes only from God. We have minds, and we should use them but it should be in conjunction with God and His leadership and wisdom. Since wisdom is only from God, it is presented as a person.

James described the wisdom that comes from above (that is, from God). That kind of wisdom is “first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere” (James 3:17). Wouldn’t you really rather have those outcomes?

John Kincaid has pointed out that what you find in Godly wisdom is so similar to the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Of course it is. It comes from God himself.

How tragic that those who have the Holy Spirit trust in their own minds. They live and act as fools.

But–those who walk in God’s wisdom will be safe.

I choose to be safe in the arms of God. I hope you do, too.