I was reading John Flavel (1628-1691) and came across the quote: “How many would have been wise, if they had not thought themselves wise already?” I think the quote was from Seneca who also said: “No man was ever wise by chance.”
The wise person is always learning. Solomon writes, “a wise son hears his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke” (Proverbs 13:1). The fool never listens to instruction, whereas the wise person listens to and follows instruction. The inevitable characteristic of an authentic follower of Jesus is a humble, teachable attitude. Our Savior still says “Learn from me” (Matthew 11:29).
Some people give the impression that they know it all! But such an attitude reveals not their wisdom but their foolishness. I wish I had listened more to my parents, my teachers, and my mentors!
Several years ago I asked a friend, “How is it you are so wise?” He gently rebuked me and quoted, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (James 1:5). If we are not asking God for wisdom, if we are not learning from our Lord Jesus Christ, if we are not open to instruction from others, we are demonstrating that we think ourselves wise already!