"Let me live a life of self-distrust..."
This prayer parallels Jeremiah 17, where the LORD says, "Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind" and "the heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick" (Jeremiah 17:5, 9). Our Savior instructs us, "out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders" (Matthew 15:19).
This worldview opposes what we are taught by our culture. Disney character Cinderella teaches us to "just follow your heart." The late Steve Jobs told college graduates that the "most important" thing to do is "have the courage to follow your heart and intuition." Yet, God tells us that our hearts are untrustworthy and wicked.
Self-distrust does not come naturally to sinful people. Such trust and such leaning on our our way of thinking and feeling about the world, people, and self is the corruption of our nature. The Word of God demands us to lay this trust entirely aside and be renewed in by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:22-24). Such a renewed mind is the good news of Jeremiah 17:7-8:
Blessed is the man who trusts inBy grace through faith in Jesus Christ, we are blessed to trust not in our own heart nor be tossed by the winds of wisdom of this corrupt world, but our trust will be found in God. Our trust must not be found in the imperfect and temporary, but in the perfect and eternal. A heart that trusts in our majestic God trusts His eternal Word. As Isaiah 40:8 says, "The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever." The wisdom of this world dries and shifts over time, but the Word of God is trustworthy and eternal.
And whose trust is the LORD.
For he will be like a tree planted
by the water,
That extends its roots by a stream
And will not fear when the heat
But its leaves will be green,
And it will not be anxious in a year
Nor cease to yield fruit.
May our gracious God renew our minds and hearts with His Word, not trusting in our own hearts nor allow us to reign over ourselves, but "teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom" (Psalm 90:12).