The Self Help Myth

November 12, 2021

“But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.” Isaiah 59:2

Go to any bookstore and you’ll find a large section of products under the title of “self-help.” A marketing research company estimates the size of self-improvement products in the U.S. is an over $9 billion industry. From books, to seminars, the personal coaching, weight loss, stress management and holistic institutes, we’re all about “pulling ourselves up by the bootstraps” and finding our “inner strength.”

There’s an old saying that goes, “God helps those who help themselves.” Perhaps that’s where the idea of self-help comes from. The only thing is, that phrase is not in the Bible. In fact, it’s not even biblical. The Bible tells us in Isaiah 59:2 that we are born into sin and completely separated from God as a result. In our sins, we cannot help ourselves. There’s literally nothing we can do.

But God helped us. He sent His Son, Jesus, to die on a cross and pay the penalty for our sins. When we trust in Jesus and surrender our lives to Him, He forgives our sins. Our relationship to God is restored. God did for us the one thing that we could not do for ourselves. More accurately, the old saying should go, “God helps those who could not help themselves.”

When we look for help with the biggest issue in our lives—our sin against God—we cannot look to ourselves for help. No good work will settle the issue. No intelligence or knowledge will supply the answer. There is no self-help option for dealing with our separation from God. All of the books, seminars, institutes and coaching fall short. The truth is, God never intended for us to run to “self-help” solutions. Instead, God stands ready to hear our surrender to Him, and to help us be restored to Him through the blood of His Son, Jesus.

Are you looking for self-improvement? Are you wanting to be more successful, more fulfilled, less stressed, or less sidetracked? Look to God. Ask God for help. Ask God to shape your “self” into the perfect image of You that He created and designed. Step away from the myth of self-help, and embrace the help that God offers you for today, and for all eternity.

God, thank you for helping me. Thank you for providing a way for me to be restored to you through Jesus Christ. Help me to depend less on myself and more on you each day. Remind me when I am praying and studying the Bible that You are the ultimate source of help, and that you want me to depend on You for all of the help I need in life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Topics: Salvation

Bible Reference

but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.