Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.
Who in the world could be in a more precarious spiritual condition than the fool? Remember, the fool is the one who says in his heart that there is no God. Apparently, there is one who even outshines (so to speak) the fool—the “myopian.” He is so nearsighted, so lacking in correct vision, and so taken by his own perception of himself that there is more hope for the fool than for him.
He is the one who is wise in his own eyes. This is tricky. If the Lord gives you wisdom, you shouldn't try to convince yourself that you're a fool—that would disparage and denigrate one of God’s great gifts. The heart of the myopian’s ailment, however, is that he is wise “in his own eyes.” He has set himself up as the standard for wisdom and he is proud to affirm that he has indeed met his own standards.
Here lies the proverbial (pun intended) rub. Only One, Jesus Christ, set the standard for wisdom and meets it. The one thing more depraved than claiming that "there is no God" (what the fool says) is claiming that "I am God." This is what the myopian does. He claims for himself that which ultimately only belongs to God: Wisdom. Any wisdom that a human might have is merely derivative of God’s wisdom, a measure given by grace. The Christian’s wisdom is not an original wisdom in his own eyes; rather it is the gift of wisdom in God's eyes.
James commands that if we lack wisdom we should ask for it. If the Lord sees fit to answer that prayer and he grants us a measure of wisdom, we should not insult him by way of a false humility that denies that God has given us the very gift for which we had prayed. Evaluating our own level of wisdom on the basis of our own standard of wisdom is exceedingly dangerous. Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom. Rather, let him boast in this: that he knows God who gives all good gifts from above and that these gifts (including wisdom) are given for our good, the good of others and God’s glory, not for our own self-aggrandizement.
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