The Bible is the greatest Self-Help book ever 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 upon self.
Many popular self-help books today teach habits, life-styles, religious
rituals, and the opinions of men. When I was in college I took a
yoga class. We practiced relaxation. During the last class of the
year the instructor lit a candle, placed it in the center of the
room, and we all sat around it and practiced meditative relaxation.
At the time, it all appeared rather innocent until I realized several
years later that Yoga is a Hindu theistic philosophy. I was unhappy
with myself that I did not investigate Yoga for myself. And, I resented
the fact that the instructor had not informed our class about Yoga,
as a religion, before teaching us yoga relaxation techniques.
It is important to investigate the principles underlying any self-help
technique we consider practicing. For example: If it is wrong for
a Christian to bow and worship Buddha, then it is wrong for a Christians
to practice Zen self-help techniques. And, if it is wrong for a
Christian to leave Christ and become a Yogi (an adherent of Yoga
philosophy; Webster), then it is wrong for a Christian to practice
yoga as a self-help technique.
"Principle" is: 1) a fundamental law, doctrine; 2) a
rule or code of conduct (Webster). Principles and examples of application
are present in the word of God. When properly applying the principles
in the Bible, we develop a value system (an ethic, a belief of what
is right and wrong) resulting in character.
"Character" is: 1) the complex of mental and ethical
traits, applicable to a person or group; 2) moral excellence (Webster).
The Bible refers to a person whose character has been molded by
godly principles as virtuous.
Now this is the importance of investigating principles. We must
learn the principles of God as taught in the Bible, apply them to
our lives, and hence life virtuously before the Lord. There are
many self-help books teaching different moral standards resulting
in differing characters. But, we must appeal to God's moral standards
and live accordingly.
Virtue comes from principles. The importance of virtue in a Christian's
God has called us in glory and virtue (2 Pet. 1:3 NKJV)
we are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
His own special people, to proclaim the virtues of God (1 Pet.
we are to live virtuously (2 Pet. 1:5 NKJV)
we are to meditate upon virtues (Phil. 4:8 NKJV)
There are a lot of people and books teaching a wide variety of
virtues. Some are in accordance with the word of God, but many blatantly
violate Biblical principles and are, therefore, immoral. Christians
have a responsibility to search out the principles behind any philosophy
of life before embracing it. Therefore, we begin this series of
articles where every self-help, self-improvement guide should begin
- with principles.