Does Self-Help Get God’s Help?

This is part 1 in our series looking at phrases that sound biblical and then asking, “Is that in the Bible? 

Statement #1—God helps those who help themselves. Is that in the Bible? No, it is not! 

The reason why I think people have accepted this as biblical is an incorrect view of God. 

  1. Humanism says God is us, which makes us believe, “If it’s going to be, it’s up to me.” 
  2. Fatalism says there is no God and therefore no meaning to life, which makes us believe, “The outcome is what it is and no one has any say in the matter.” 
  3. Deism says there is a God, but it’s hard to get His attention, which makes us believe “He is either disinterested in me or unapproachable. He’s only available for the ‘big’ things.” 

The Bible flat-out rejects all three of these isms. 

Instead, we see a loving, approachable God. One who is both all-powerful and all-loving. He says things like…

  • I made you and know everything about you, and I remain infinitely interested and intimately involved in your life 
  • Come to Me and I will give you rest
  • I want you to cast all your anxieties on Me
  • Don’t be anxious about anything, but tell Me about everything that troubles you (Psalm 139:1-18; Matthew 11:28-29; 1 Peter 5:7; Philippians 4:6)

Not only is “God helps those who help themselves” untrue, but the exact opposite is also true—God helps those who cannot help themselves! 

In Isaiah 40:28-29, we read that God gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 

“Yes, it is our strength, not our weakness, that is our hindrance and stumbling block.” —Horatius Bonar 

God gives power to the weak. He gives strength to those with no might of their own. God does NOT help those who think they can help themselves! God helps those who cannot help themselves! This is what Jesus came to do, and why we should rejoice in the fact that He does indeed help those who could never rescue themselves (Isaiah 53:4-5; 2 Corinthians 12:9)!

It is our can’ts that God uses as His opportunities to show how limitless He is. Our limitations magnify His love and His power. 

One of the best prayers you could ever pray is simply, “God, help!” This simple prayer acknowledges in just two words that you can’t but He most assuredly can! 

But those who wait for the Lord—who expect, look for, and hope in Him—shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up close to God as eagles mount up to the sun; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired. (Isaiah 40:31 AMP) 

Join me next week as we continue to explore various statements and ask, “Is that in the Bible? 

10 Responses to “Does Self-Help Get God’s Help?”

  1. The Devil Isn’t Scared Of You | Craig T. Owens Says:

    […] time I said that God helps those who cannot help themselves. The prayer He loves to respond to is, “God, help!” If ever we face a situation that we cannot […]


  2. Thursdays With Spurgeon—God’s Faithful Provision | Craig T. Owens Says:

    […] God loves to help those who cannot help themselves, so that He receives all of the glory.  […]


  3. Year-End Review (2019 edition) | Craig T. Owens Says:

    […] Is this in the Bible: “God helps those who help themselves”? No. Does Self-Help Get God’s Help?  […]


  4. Thursdays With Spurgeon—God’s Part, Our Part | Craig T. Owens Says:

    […] wrong to say, “God only helps those who help themselves.” But it’s equally as wrong to say, “I don’t need to do anything except wait for God.” In […]


  5. Thursdays With Spurgeon—Holy Familiarity | Craig T. Owens Says:

    […] often said that one of the most powerful prayers we can pray is simply, “God, help!” In those two words we acknowledge our helplessness and His omnipotence, our sin and His […]


  6. Craig T. Owens Says:

    “After the first few steps in the Christian life we realize that everything which really needs to be done in our souls can be done only by God.” —C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity


  7. Pray Long | Craig T. Owens Says:

    […] get me wrong, God does answer the one word prayers (like HELP!). But there is something powerful about praying […]


  8. Is That In The Bible? | Craig T. Owens Says:

    […] …God helps those who help themselves? […]


  9. Preying Or Praying | Craig T. Owens Says:

    […] God told Cain, “YOU must master it.” God can’t help us until we stop trying to help ourselves. God wants to help us defeat the crouching lion of sin, but we have to ask him to help […]


  10. Healthy Leaders Ask For Help | Craig T. Owens Says:

    […] are many leaders that believe the lie that God helps those who help themselves. In reality, God delights in those who admit their need for help. The Bible says, “God opposes […]


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