Wednesday’s (Self Help!) Word
Recently, I heard this, “Well, as the Bible says, ‘God helps those who help themselves’.” Have you ever heard that Scripture quoted? Well, it’s not from the Bible, it’s from “Poor Richard Almanac for the year of Christ 1739” by Benjamin Franklin. That quote is listed right there with “Little strokes fell great oaks” and “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” Some good self-help advice perhaps, but not Scripture. Now I will acknowledge, the Bible tells us to do the work of faith, after all faith without works is dead you know (James 2:26). But in my ever-so-humble opinion, it seems that most often God really helps those who cannot help themselves!
Well, all of this got me Wednesday-Word-Wondering. #1, Do we really know our Scripture? And #2, How many self-help books do you think have been written over the years? There must be millions! From the past to the present the self-help culture in this country says, “you can do it!” Pull yourself up by the bootstraps! Improve your self-esteem and feel better about yourself! Learn how to improve your resume’ and get that dream job! You can learn about eating and exercise and increase your mussel to fat ratio. You can learn what to wear and dress for success. You can learn some basic finance skills and improve your credit score. Of course, on some level, some of that is true. Education and knowledge can help you do things well—but what is most disturbing to me is the idea that you can help yourself to a sort of designer faith that will give you peace, fulfillment, and a ticket to heaven. Folks, it doesn’t work that way! Why? Because we have to line up with the Word of God.
Yes, God has a plan! It’s in the Book! You see, we’ve all been born into this world with a sinful nature. We make plans to help ourselves but our plans cannot truly succeed. We all fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). The good news is that even in our sinful separation from the Lord, God loves us so much he sent his only begotten Son Jesus for our salvation. Through Jesus we are reconciled to Almighty God; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!
The bottom line: Certain self-help knowledge may enable us to overcome some human conditions. But we can never truly save our selves. Only Faith in Jesus Christ can do that.
Have a Great Wednesday and Every Day!
Many Blessings, Pastor Mike