Proverbs 26:12 Do you see a man wise in his own eyes?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.
The previous 11 verses are all condemnatory of the “fool,” so this verse has extra bite. Humility is greatly to be desired! It’s not that we cannot have assurance in what we know, it’s that thinking you’ve got it all together sets you up for a fall, just as Paul pointed out. (1 Corinthians 10:12) The first step in growth, mentally/emotionally/spiritually speaking, is realizing that you have room to grow. Churches are filled, unfortunately, with people who think that once they’re dipped, they’re done. They understand neither grace nor repentance and may well not be saved, though that is for God to decide. Anyone who thinks they don’t need to learn has a major problem. We can’t know everything, nor do we really need to, but saying, “that’s enough,” is dangerous indeed. We need first of all to know God; everything else is secondary at best to that. However, since God is infinite and we certainly are not, there is no limit to our continued growth in knowing Him, unless we decide “that’s enough.” Bigots fall under this verse, because they have already settled their own superiority in their own minds, thereby condemning themselves to inferiority. There’s a neat bit of irony for you!
I had a painful lesson in the reality of this verse myself. I had skipped the 12th grade of school and gone directly into college in the “honors curriculum,” and “cocky” didn’t half describe me. I got into Freshman Math, under a rather uninspiring teacher, and immediately tuned out, because “I could do all that stuff.” I was six weeks into the course when I really woke up and by then it was too late, and I ended up having to repeat the course, since it was required. God used that to knock me out of a Chemistry major and push me toward a Speech/English major, which was good in terms of His plan for me to be a minister/missionary, but it was a very sell-deserved blow to my pride. There have been various other times of similar lessons, all of them sadly necessary, but God has been more than patient and gracious toward me, leaving me with hope in spite of what this verse says.
Father, thank You indeed for Your grace and patience. Help me continue to grow in all areas (except girth!) so that I may be increasingly useful to You for however You want to use me, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!