It is always the longest, most solidly stocked stacks in any bookstore – the “self help” nonfiction section. Maybe it’s a holdover from the old American adage of “pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps.” We will use some “self help” suggestions offered by others only as long as we get to pick and choose what kind of help we will consider acceptable, only as long as we are still ultimately in charge of the direction and duration that the “help” we seek takes.
“Self help” books, whether they are focused on helping us learn to navigate the tax code, or the web, or an emotional difficulty brought on by an illness or unemployment, a death or depression, still many only selectively embrace the advice they offer. We can avoid some topics, or even skip whole chapters, if we find them too challenging or uncomfortable. “Self help” manuals let us selectively focus on only those parts of our self that we want to prune and clean up – other areas we conveniently ignore.
Friends, we have the greatest “self help” book of all – the Bible. The Bible has given us “all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that called us by his own glory and virtue” (2 Pet. 1:3) and “Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness. That the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
The Bible is – by far – the greatest “self help” book. But here is the key to success with this great book: Study all its counsel (Acts 20:27)—skipping no chapters, or direction—and apply all its principles to all of your life—even when it gets uncomfortable. Beloved, we must love God with every ounce of our being (Mk. 12:30) to truly receive the help that we so desperately desire and need – and remember, Jesus said “If you love me you will keep my commandments” (Jn. 14:15).
The Southwesterner, July 2014