Self-help is an oxymoron.
“God helps those who help themselves.” is a popular quote folks who don’t know any better claim from time to time.
God does NOT help those who help themselves. God helps those who come to the end of self and realize they can’t help themselves. Only God can.
Even in recovery groups like Alcoholics Anonymous, Alanon, and ACOA the first step is: “admitted we were powerless over (our addiction) and our lives had become unmanageable.” Does that sound like self-help to you? To me that first step to recovery for us addicts sounds like coming to the end of self. Ergo, the end of self-help. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Whether it’s an addiction or stress or worry or adultery or runaway children or abuse no self-help book can get to the root of the problem and cure it.
Why? Because self-help books only suggest ways to change behaviors and thought patterns. We have spawned a multi-million dollar industry fueled by men and woman who have gone to school all their lives instead of working and now have an alphabet behind their names. The alphabets make them best selling authors telling people how to fix their emotional, psychological and social problems.
The self-help (self-improvement) industry rakes in billions (with a “b”) every year. Consumers spend more than $10 billion a year for motivational, “self-improvement” programs, products and services “that seek to improve us physically, mentally, financially or spiritually,” according to Marketdata Enterprices, Inc.¹
If you Google “popular self-help books” you get more than 2 million hits. If you google “self-help” you get more than 48 million results.
No matter what our addiction, your emotional or psychological problems, we can’t fix them by reading self-help books. The only way we’re going to resolve our deep-seeded hurts and wounds in life is in and through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. God created each of us. He formed us from the dust. He knows everything about me and you. And when something inside gets broken, He is the only one who knows how to fix it.
Self-help books are full of cookie cutter solutions for all their readers problems. The problem is, these self-help authors don’t know me and you. They know symptoms, they know social problems, they know research studies and numbers and statistics.
But they don’t know me and you. God knows us inside and out. He knows us intimately and personally and He’s been walking with each of us our entire lives. He created us. He knows every move we’ve made, every word we’ve said, everything we’ve done. He knows our every fear, joy, choice, trouble, accomplishment, bad decision, thought, emotion, regret, kindness, service, praise and worship.
God’s word is the only book that will resolve our troubles and trials. God has an answer for every question we have. His book won’t give a bunch of methods and steps to a better life. Through His word God will teach us our true identity, our purpose in life, and our way to victory. God’s word will teach us who God is and how a personal relationship with Him can transform our life.
Would you rather change your behavior for a while, or transform your life forever?
¹Market for Self-Improvement Products & Services", 8th Edition, © 2011,