Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar. (Proverbs 30:5–6—NKJV)

Have you ever noticed that one of the most distasteful traits of great thinkers tends to be great arrogance? They generally know a lot about one thing but often struggle with common sense and “people skills.” They often lack a healthy “skeletal structure” of morality that can lend redeeming purpose to their collection of knowledge.

Fallen man, though quite capable of brilliance, is ill-equipped to discern virtuous morality. The Bible states, “the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them because they are spiritually discerned.” Because of this, Paul states, “these things we also speak, not in man’s words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Corinthians 2:13–14). Without a doubt, every man unblessed with the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit can only peck around the edges of eternally valuable wisdom and can never really gain true insight. Even the “holy men” of any religion, without Christ and unaided by the true God, are limited to “natural man” thinking. Fallen man will always have a warped view of the life God has so graciously given.

Since all men are subject to “stinkin’ thinkin’,” it stands to reason that all wise men must realize their limitations. We need to take regular soundings, keep a close watch on the charts, and take our bearings from the stars of heaven when out on the seas of life. The Bible is the ultimate source-book of all wisdom that filters the facts and acts of life, even unto eternity! If you are born-again, then you recognize the significance of Paul’s statement in Romans 12:3, “For this I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.” Remember, you are blessed with the work of the Holy Spirit in your life, as Paul states in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” Being dependent upon the Holy Spirit to cure our “stinkin’thinkin’,” there is no room for arrogance in the life of the saint of God.

We see this illustrated in Proverbs 30 as we are introduced to a spiritual thinker named Agur. Apparently he was a teacher of wisdom which he had gathered from God. Two of his students are named in the early verses of the chapter. With them we sit at the teacher’s feet and learn how he kept his thinking straight. He presents his three filters which maintain his equilibrium while forming a solid foundation for practical and original thinking.

The first filter is a deep sense of personal humility that drives servant leadership. In verses 2 and 3 he reveals that he maintains a healthy self-estimation—that he is merely a man and takes his rightful seat among men. It is not a false humility when one takes into account that all wisdom must be granted by God! He knows that, left to himself and his own devices, he would be no different than any man. Arrogance has no place in thinking straight.

The second filter is a fresh sense of wonder concerning the activities of God. All the things he names in verse 4 are beyond the grasp of men, but are revealed as trivial among the abilities of God. God freely moves between heaven and earth, is able to catch the wind in His fists, mop up the waters with a cloth, and settle the boundaries of the earth. Agur’s wonder at the supremacy and omnipotence of God is concluded with the ultimate measure of divinely granted wisdom: “What is His name, and what is His Son’s name, if you know?” Wisdom starts with according Jesus Christ His rightful place as the Son of the Living God. Your Creator is your Designer for straight thinking.

The final filter is an unswerving commitment to the finality of the Word of God. No man can be dogmatic but for a sound reliance upon the written Word, unmodified and untwisted by men. God’s word is pure. It has been tried and found to be without alloy. It serves as a shield that preserves straight thinking. Be sure that you do not add to His words or your thinking will be skewed! God’s Word is the final judge. Let God’s Word be your dogmatism that verifies your conclusions and decisions! Trust and obey.