March Madness: foolish confidence

“March Madness” refers to the crazy things that happen during end-of-the-season basketball tournaments that take place at this time of the year. This month, I’ll also use the “March Madness” theme to help us think about some crazy things we do in our approach to coaching and life – and here I use the term “crazy” to mean “unwise.” The book of Proverbs utilizes another term some 70 times for this: “foolish.”

Proverbs is filled with insight on the difference between being foolish and being wise. “Wisdom” is simply understanding practically how to live according to God’s design for us. The opposite, “foolishness,” is refusing to live according to God’s design, even though he is the author of life. In this and the next couple of March devotions, we’ll look at three themes from Proverbs regarding the madness of living foolishly and what God says instead about living wisely.

Here’s the first foolish approach to consider: foolish confidence. Proverbs 28:26 says this: “He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is safe.” When we determine that we’re better off putting our confidence completely in ourselves rather than looking to and trusting someone else, we live foolishly. A fool acknowledges no higher authority than himself or herself. It’s foolish to believe we can control what happens, we can figure things out on our own, and we can achieve a life of true significance and security just by looking within ourselves.

The alternative is this: “he who walks in wisdom is safe.” We better understand what this means by looking at the previous verse. The writer of Proverbs frequently uses the literary tool of “parallelism”: repeating the same point using different terminology. Verse 26 of Prov. 28 parallels verse 25, which says: “he who trusts in the Lord will prosper.” Here’s the point: to “walk in wisdom” is all about trusting the Lord rather than trusting ourselves. We will only be secure and thrive in the life God has for us as we put our confidence firmly in him.

Trusting in the Lord means fully submitting every area of our life, including our coaching, to Jesus Christ. We resolve to follow Jesus without compromise in how we think, speak, and act – even as those around us think, speak, and act in ways contrary to God’s design. We resist the temptation to believe we somehow know better than Jesus what’s best for a particular situation. We continually look to the Lord and his Word to show us what’s true, to shape our perspective and character, and to guide us as we coach and live.

It really is madness to think we’re better off trusting ourselves rather than putting our confidence in the God of the universe who makes himself known to us in Jesus Christ. Choose instead to live and coach wisely. Look to the Lord and follow him as he leads you on the path of wisdom. Then you’ll be secure and thrive in the life he has for you, a life that truly impacts others for God’s glory.

For reflection: In what areas are you trusting yourself rather than fully surrendering to Christ? Bring these to him and ask him to help you live instead with confidence in him so you can walk in wisdom.