So Long, Silly Self-Help
Do you try make yourself a better person? Or do you trust God work in you to make you a person of grace? There’s a world of difference between those two ways of life.
Self-strength stages an illusion. God creates life.
Self-effort causes stress. Jesus provides salvation.
Self-help brings exhaustion. The Holy Spirit brings peace.
Why is it that stopping self-improvement projects and waiting for God to perform change in us is out of our radar? Why is is that trusting God, turning around and repenting is so hard?
God, the Master, The Holy of Israel,
has this solemn counsel:
“Your salvation requires you to turn back to me
and stop your silly efforts to save yourselves.
Your strength will come from settling down
in complete dependence on me—
The very thing
you’ve been unwilling to do.
(Isaiah 30:15, MSG, emphasis added)
We can’t save ourselves, no matter how hard we try. We can’t make ourselves more loved by God, no matter how we try to improve ourselves. We can’t make ourselves bear fruit, no matter how much self-effort we put in. We can’t rule our lives, no matter how much control we try to keep.
We are saved by Jesus, not by self-help.
What to do then?
We can stop trying and start trusting.
We choose God and say goodbye to the world’s ways.
We say yes to God and we say so long to silly self-help.
We accept grace and we bid farewell to self-effort.
We do this by repenting and turning back to God. By stopping our own self-help efforts and surrendering to God. Repentance is a choice that we make – by the grace of God – every day of our lives.
Without starting our days with God, we have a natural tendency to take control back from God. And that leads to stress and exhaustion. In order to live and grow in grace we need to linger in God’s presence. To be filled to the brim with God’s love. Then we are ready to face the world.
Then it’s not us making ourselves strong, but God being our strength.
Then it’s not us saving ourselves, but trusting Jesus to save us by grace through faith.
Then it is not us making ourselves good, but the Holy Spirit changing us for good.
So come on, let’s leave the preschool fingerpainting exercises on Christ and get on with the grand work of art. Grow up in Christ. The basic foundational truths are in place: turning your back on “salvation by self-help” and turning in trust toward God; baptismal instructions; laying on of hands; resurrection of the dead; eternal judgment. God helping us, we’ll stay true to all that. But there’s so much more. Let’s get on with it! (Hebrews 6:1-3, MSG, emphasis added )
God helping us…
… we’ll stay true to the gospel.
… we’ll choose God and his will daily
… we’ll put our confidence and trust in God.
Let’s get on with it!
So long, silly self-help!
Come, Lord Jesus!
We ask for your forgiveness
for thinking we are authors of our lives.
Enable us to bid farewell to
self-help, self-effort, self-strength.
We welcome you to do with us as you please.
Fill our lives to the brim with your grace.
In Jesus’ name,
Q4U: Have you bid farewell to self-help? Why? Why not?
Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you choose to trust God and grow in Christ!
Giving thanks today for
#691 I am not the author of my life
#692 faith is confidence in God, not in me.
#693 faith is trust in God, not in my abilities
#694 faith is submission to God, not to the lies of the world.
#695 I can stop trying and start trusting.
#696 I can work WITH God.
#697 While I abide in Christ, the Holy Spirit changes me.
#698 God is my strength.
#699 God is my provider.
#700 God is my everything.
Image courtesy of Jon Romero. Linking up today with Linking up today with What’s on Your Heart Tuesdays , Wordfilled Wednesday, All Things Heart & Home , God-Bumps and God-incidences , Work in Progress, One Word at a Time: Silly and
25 thoughts on “So Long, Silly Self-Help”
You got it! Stop trying and start trusting…
any good in me is good worked by HIM! So glad He has promised to finish what he started in me!
If you are interested, you may enjoy my book club on this topic: starting this week! Have you read this book?
Yes! Isn’t it wonderful to know that God is at work in us continually! Thank you, Emily, for commenting and inviting me to your book club. I will check it out! Bountiful Blessings to you!
Only God can overcome our self. We cannot do it on our own. Our role is to yield fully to Him and trust Him to do the work in us.
Preach it, brother! Thanks for chiming in, Dusty! Abundant blessings to you and yours!
Such a great post. We seeking all kinds of methods to help ourselves when God has told us to trust Him. The one who started the work in us will complete it.
Thank you, Wanda! Yes, we tend to complicate things, don’t we? God is indeed faithful and we can rest in His grace. May God bless you and keep you, sis!
Oh yeah. This is IT, I tell you. I love your title, Mari-Anna. That really speaks volumes. So grateful for your words of wisdom here, a reminder that God is the one who already did the hard work. We can stop trying so hard to work our way into His good graces! Thank you for this.
Thanks, Jennifer! I appreciate your feedback. Yeah, if we only learned to bask in God’s love instead of trying so hard on our own! May God continue to bless you richly!
Thanks so much, Denise! Abundant blessings to you!
Great post. I think so many of us fall into the trap that we have to make ourselves presentable to God before we can come to Him, when really He already knows everything, we should just come and accept His offer to help us.
Thank you, TC, for chiming in! You’re so right and we might even do it subconsciously. It might be the reason why our prayer life is suffering. God bless you richly!
I think you’re on to something there!
Thanks, TC. It is an interesting thought! 🙂 Stay blessed!
This is a daily struggle … letting God control all my efforts, letting Him decide my next step. Very convicting, and something I will let roll around in my brain today, Mari-Anna! 🙂
That’s great, Beth! Thanks for sharing. This is a daily struggle. This is what Christian living is all about. Blessings to you as you continue your faith journey!
🙂 Thanks, Chelle! Grace-filled Blessings!
This is a daily struggle for me as well. I sometimes subscribe to the lie that I am more valuable when I get it all right. So I work hard at doing that. Thanks for the reminder to let Him work in me.
Thanks for linking up with WIP!
Thanks for sharing, Mary Beth! We are conditioned to believe that we need to earn love. That’s why grace is so wonderful! It is not only free but totally inclusive! Big blessings to you, sis!
Wonderful post and with God’s grace all things are possible… God makes life wonderful 🙂
Yes, indeed! Thanks, Kathleen, for chiming in. May God continue to bless you and keep you in his sweet grace!
I’m in real trouble when I don’t focus on the Lord and put Him first, first, and first again. And, b/c of my independent and rebellious attitude through the first phase of life, I truly have to concentrate on His calls, His Words, His instructions. Good reminder from you.
Thank you, Joanne! Yes, this is a life time journey we are on. We need Jesus every step we take. Thanks for sharing this journey with me. BLESSINGS!
For issues that relate to the Left-Hand Kingdom, such as mental and emotional health, sound self-help, supported by the Means of Grace, get the job done. For issues that relate to the Right-Hand Kingdom, such as growing in faith and forgiveness, only the Means of Grace get the job done. I submit http://hyper-lutheranism.net/wp-content/uploads/RadicalOrthodoxLutheranVerities-E.pdf.