April 28, 2009

Am I a child or an arrogant fool?

Matthew 11:25

And Jesus prayed this prayer: “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding the truth from those who think themselves so wise, and for revealing it to little children. Yes, Father, for it pleased you to do it this way!”

In this prayer, Jesus mentioned two kinds of people: The wise, arrogant in their own knowledge; and little children, humbly open to receive the truth of God’s Word. So I’m left wondering which one of these describes me?

I often see my own opinion in an arrogant way—thinking that I know better than anyone else. So this is definitely something I need to pay attention to.

But I don’t think it makes sense to act like I’m wrong about everything either. Of course I believe the things that I argue for. If I thought I was wrong, I wouldn’t be defending my position.

Matthew 11:28-30

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light.”

Jesus goes on in the same passage to call those who are weary to come to him and find rest. I find that when I’m fighting for my opinion to be heard, I lack rest. It’s a very turbulent way to live. So should I be standing down in all cases and just letting others run rough-shod over me?

One of my commentaries explains the reasons someone may feel a heavy burden that makes them desire rest:

A person may be carrying heavy burdens of (1) sin, (2) excessive demands of religious leaders (Matthew 23:4; Acts 15:10), (3) oppression and persecution, or (4) weariness in the search for God. Jesus frees people from all these burdens. The rest that Jesus promises is love, healing, and peace with God, not the end of all labor. A relationship with God changes meaningless, wearisome toil into spiritual productivity and purpose.

That’s the rest I need.

Proverbs 3:5-8

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.

Another verse that has been on my mind quite a bit lately seems to parallel these thoughts. Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” So my own opinion is not what I should be fighting for. I should be proclaiming God’s truth—not my own opinion. The next verse says, “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Straight paths sounds a good bit more restful than crooked paths with the unknown lurking around every bend.

Then in verses 7 and 8 we find: “Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.”

Could it be that part of the rest God promises to provide is that we will not have to figure things out if we simply fear the Lord and turn away from evil. It’s difficult being wise in our own eyes. But if we humbly look to the Lord, &ldquo:it will be healing to [our] flesh and refreshment to [our] bones.”

I’m ready for that rest.


  1. I think I have been both, depending on the issue. But, when it comes to learning about God from His word, I pray that I am more like the child than the arrogant fool (though I know I'm not always).


  2. Anne - I think we're all a mix of the two, depending on the situation and the topic. I find that I tend to dig in my heels and become more arrogant when I begin to think that I really know a topic well.

    But I have changed my mind on issues of great importance to me over the years. And the fact that I've changed my mind shows that I was wrong at least once, if not twice--or more. It's difficult remaining childlike. Perhaps we need a Peter Pan theology.

  3. Earlier I was going to comment on this. Then I realized I had nothing to say that would shed any light, other than our position in Christ is secure on account of His actions, not any of ours. He afterwards tells us that we need to live lives worthy of our callings.

    Some of this arrogance comes with youth, and gets mellowed out by age, because as Richard said, we realize how wrong we have been.

    My only concern is that we (I don't mean you guys) don't drift off into a postmodern mentality on account of this - just that as we grow, we present our case with the humility in knowing we have often been wrong. Not only wrong, but downright sinful.

  4. Lynn - You're so right about the need to stand up for the truth and not go the postmodern way of accepting whatever as "your opinion is every bit as valid as mine."

    I think the answer to that is still found in this blog post, although I don't think I artiulated it well. We should not take a strong stand on our opinions. We should not fight for our personal agendas, etc. But we should be willing to fight strongly for God's Word--for the things that are clearly taught in scripture.

    I appreciate the balance you've brought to the discussion. Ignoring truth is not advisable either.


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