Does Being a Christian Jive with Self-Help?
This past weekend some friends and I went to the Lifeway event with Priscilla Shirer.
Soo good. It was in Amarillo, about four hours from where we are. Us, five ladies loaded up the minivan and set out for a fabulous girls’ trip filled with so many laughs, tears, and the goodness of Jesus. Sisters met us there for even more girl time. Priscilla was great. So inspirational. And can I just say, thank you, God, for bringing women into my life that have truly known you and have been closer to you for longer than I have. Their faith and their struggles inspire me to grow closer to you, God. So much goodness.
When we returned, one of my friends wrote this experience…
Wow, right? God is so good!
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” —Romans 12:2
I admit I used to consider myself a total self-help junkie. The world wants to tell you you just need to dig deep and find the strength within. You can do all things if you just focus enough, plan right, have the motivation, do the thing from this mystical inner strength that is just supposed to exist within you. I believed that and simultaneously thought there was just something inherently wrong with me that I could not make this happen. Why could everyone else do this? In an effort to give me all the confidence and inner strength, these self-help concepts left me feeling like a failure. If I was supposed to have all the power to do this on my own, why was I consistently grasping at straws to keep myself together?? Where was this inner strength? Why was I unable to make it all happen and feeling lost in the process.
For me, this is where Jesus worked His miracle in my heart. I finally knew God when I realized the concept of ME doing it all was a lie. I was never meant to have the strength. My success, my accomplishments, my glorification, me helping myself for my better meant was doomed to fail. I was not enough on my own,
But the beautiful this is I was never was supposed to be.
It’s not self-help- it’s God’s glory, ladies.
Just go ahead and take that load off your shoulders right now! Do it! God will take it. In fact, He already has. We have just been too consumed in our own glory to recognize it.
“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” —Mathew 11:28-30 NLT
He wants us to lean on Him, and everything we do is to glorify what He did for us- the ultimate gift- Grace.
This is where surrender comes in. When we realize we can not do it, whatever it is, on our own, and it is not about us. We surrender our will to Him. The most amazing thing that has ever happened to us and will ever happen to us is the gift we have been freely given, and nothing we do will make that any more or less amazing.
We are made completely new when we come to faith in Jesus. The Holy Spirit works within us and our hearts. Our spirits are actively filled with the peace of Jesus as we follow Him. It is a process in which we actively participate. This is where it states in James, “Faith without works is dead.” It is not the works, the self-help, the to-do lists, our accomplishments that save us. We have been saved by what Jesus did. Our works, the things we do things like pray, study the Bible, learn from sound teachers, and engage in Christian fellowship to help us know God more, are outpourings of the Holy Spirit working in us. Because those things make us alive in Christ.
Don’t get me wrong. Some self-help can be super helpful in getting me moving. Mel Robbins Five- second rule has been great for me making things happen. Organizational skills, how to use a planner effectively, how to manage my mom schedule, and manage my household- all super helpful tactics. But the Key is remembering why we are doing it in the first place and where our strength to make it happen comes from. Are we relying on our feeble human strength? Or God’s sovereign, Alpha and Omega, creator of the universe strength? Is it for our glory or God’s ultimate and infinite glory? Our glory doesn’t last. God’s glory and what He has in store for us is eternity. Are we trying to accomplish this for the world or for Him and His will?
Self-help can be helpful, but, ladies, let’s not forget our strength comes from the Lord.
I love how Prescilla told us, and my friend noted to go read Romans chapter 8. If you guys don’t already know, Romans is one of the most impressive pieces of literature ever written and a beautiful guide to our salvation in Jesus. And we are reading it together, here every Thursday. Come join me while we break it down, go through commentaries and bible studies and learn what Paul the apostle was tasked to teach us about our good Lord.
I also want to task you all with the homework of sharing this with a friend. My friends in Christ mean more to me than I could ever imagine because they help me to see how every day I can grow closer to Him.
I pray you find friends like this, you can be a friend like this and you can help others to know Him and to make His grace known.