I visited a large bookstore recently and noticed that the Self-Help
section was jam-packed with books. Many of these books may not be
inherently bad or evil, but they usually do not approach Self-Help
from a godly point of view.
I was first seriously introduced to Self-Help in college while
studying trombone with a professor at IU who required reading books
written from the Zen perspective. Other such books are written from
various philosophical, psychological, and heretical perspectives.
Some of these even contain Scriptures generally mixed in with a
little philosophy from men like Plato and Aristotle.
The fact is that the Bible is the greatest Self-Help book that
has been written or will ever be written. The primary difference
between the Bible and other Self-Help books is that the Bible instructs
one in the way to come to God and receive God-Help. Then, God is
the One who empowers us to improve ourselves rather than depending
The fact that one must change throughout life is not foreign to
the word of God. It is called repentance (a change of heart necessitating
a change in behavior for the better). Jesus says: "but unless
you repent you will all likewise perish" (Lk. 13:3, 5). So,
we would expect God to teach us how to change if it were necessary
to be saved. Of course, this is the case.
In order for us to change our behavior, we must first change our
view (perception) - the way we look at things. Those converted on
Pentecost following Peter's sermon exemplify this fact (Acts 2).
Peter convicted the Jews of killing Jesus, the Messiah, with lawless
hands. Not everyone hearing Peter's sermon believed, but those who
believed were pricked in their hearts. They changed their perspective
of Jesus and said: "Men and brethren, what shall we do?"
These men now realized that they had killed the Messiah - they no
longer considered Him a blasphemer worthy of death but the Messiah.
Peter said: "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in
the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall
receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." What better example of
change can be presented?
A Christian's view of life is different from any other type of
person. This is exemplified in that we: count it all joy when we
fall into various trials (Jas. 1:2) and glory in tribulation (Rom.
5:3). Can you see a modern Self-Help book instructing a reader to
rejoice in trials and glory in tribulations? The thought is absurd
- it is impossible for a human to empower himself in such a way
as to rejoice in trials and tribulation. But, God empowers His children
to live joyous and happy lives apart from earthly circumstances.
This is the difference between the Bible and modern Self-Help books:
The Bible teaches empowerment from God while Self-Help teaches empowerment
Lord willing, this series will investigate seven empowering principles
of living in Christ from the book of Romans. The first three principles
work internally to shape our minds. The fourth through seventh principles
also work internally but necessitate a particular outward behavior.
The seven principles are:
Renew your understanding of self as falling short of the glory
Renew your understanding of your personal relationship with
Walk by faith
Walk according to the law of the Spirit in Christ
Present your body a living sacrifice to God
Exercise liberties that edify
I pray that you will join me in investigating the God-Help that
comes from above. It is more powerful than any Self-Help that can
be mustered within the human mind. Paul's prayer to God on behalf
of the Ephesians was: that they be strengthened with might through
His Spirit in the inner man; that Christ dwells in their hearts
through faith; that they be rooted and grounded in love; that they
know the love of Christ; that they be filled with all the fullness
of God" (Eph. 3:14-21). Should this not be our prayer for Help?