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? 

Links & Quotes

link quote

“You may claim to love Jesus but your life proves you are still walking in darkness—confused, befuddled and foggy! When you are truly in love with Jesus, conversing with Him, He turns up the light. There is no darkness at all in His presence. The worst possible darkness to mankind is not in the hearts of God-hating Communist leaders or Christ-hating atheists. It is, rather, the horrible darkness that blinds so-called Christians who refuse to walk in the light.” —David Wilkerson

“It is not your business to succeed (no one can be sure of that) but to do right: when you have done so, the rest lies with God.” ―C.S. Lewis

“O how quickly we are given to defending God, or sometimes the truth, from words that are only for the wind. If we had discernment, we could tell the difference between the words with roots and the words blowing in the wind. There are words with roots in deep error and deep evil. But not all grey words get their color from a black heart. Some are colored mainly by the pain, the despair. What you hear is not the deepest thing within. There is something real within where they come from. But it is temporary—like a passing infection—real, painful, but not the true person. Let us learn to discern whether the words spoken against us or against God or against the truth are merely for the wind—spoken not from the soul, but from the sore. If they are for the wind, let us wait in silence and not reprove. Restoring the soul, not reproving the sore, is the aim of our love.” —John Piper

“What must you do so that you may know that your sins are taken away by the blood of Christ, and that, when He comes, He will shield you from the wrath of God and bring me into eternal life? The answer is this: trust Christ in a way that makes you eager for Him to come.” —John Piper

John Stonestreet has a great take on worldviews in Radical Islam, Secularism & Christianity.

“O beloved, what a defense is God to His church! Ah, the devil cannot cross this broad river of God. Between me and you, O fiend of hell, is my God. Do remember this, Christian; between you and your arch-enemy is your God; satan has to stand on the other side, and how he wishes he could dry up that stream, but God is omnipotent.” —Charles Spurgeon

 

Mere Humanism

I’ve noticed a disturbing trend among many of my pastor colleagues. I’m not sure if it’s an attempt to be “relatable” or unoffensive, but it is dead wrong.

The trend is to tell stories (even Bible stories) without using the Bible. To give people good thoughts from Scripture without actually opening the Scripture. To tell people how they should live but to never show them the passages of God’s Word on which those thoughts are based.

Are we ashamed of the Scripture? How can someone “preach” without pointing their audience to the authority for their preaching?!?

A.W. TozerA.W. Tozer warned us with these words—

“Any appeal to the public in the name of Christ that rises no higher than an invitation to tranquillity must be recognized as mere humanism with a few words of Jesus thrown in to make it appear Christian.”

Don’t just throw in some words of Christ; actually take them to His Word. This inspired Word is powerful, if we will just let people get their hands, and eyes, and hearts on it!

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