Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

Proverbs 28:25-26 “He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the LORD shall be made fat. He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walked wisely, he shall be delivered.”

Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”

Romans 1:22 “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.”

In a recent poll reported by the Washington Post, respondents were asked the following question: “How confident are you that you could safely land a passenger airplane in an emergency situation, relying only on the assistance of air traffic control?” Nearly 1 in 3 Americans reported a very confident or a somewhat confident YES (46% of men and 20% of women, an interesting gender difference).

An aviation expert interviewed for the article said the following: “There is a zero percent chance of someone pulling that off. Do people think they can perform transplant surgery? No. Then why do they think they can land a plane?”

The survey responses are partly due to a social and cognitive phenomenon known as the Dunning-Kruger Effect. It is explained in a 1999 academic publication in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology entitled “Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments.” It is a classic! The authors, David Dunning and Justin Kruger, statistically and methodically demonstrate that people with the lowest competence or skill in a particular area have the worst ability in judging their own competence or their own skill and often massively inflate their perceptions of both. On the flip side, those with the highest competence or skill in a particular area tend to substantially underestimate their own competence or skill.

These findings should blast warning signals to all of us. If we think we are skilled or competent, then buyer beware, we may actually be unskilled and incompetent. If we think we are lacking, then we are less likely to actually be so.

This applies to all elements of our lives and to every aspect of society. It applies to our activities in service to the Lord and it certainly applies to our faith. The more we trust in our own skill and competence, the less likely it is that we will be able to impactfully display skill and competence. In cases of pride-fueled self-confidence, we will fall, we will fail, and we will be characterized as fools.

PLEASE PRAY FOR AMERICAN CHRISTIANS TO HUMBLY TRUST IN THE LORD WITH OUR LIVES, IN OUR ACTIVITIES, AND FOR OUR INFLUENCE. We must not trust in ourselves, but instead fully trust in the LORD our God. It is folly to have faith in our confidence.