Christian Self-help

Have you ever heard someone say, “God helps those who help themselves?”

Why do so many assume this to be a true statement?  And why do we want it to be true?

What in all of scripture would lead anyone to this conclusion?

The Old Testament law is full of special provisions for the stranger and the widow, in other words, those who are least able to help themselves.  I suspect that it might be more accurate to say that God helps those who cannot do anything for themselves.

The Jesus story is all about God sending a Savior because humanity was completely without means to save itself.  There was no self-help path option.

Maybe the key to wholeness is recognizing our inability to pull ourselves up by our own boot straps.

I love the body metaphor that Paul uses in 1 Corinthians 12, describing the church as a body made up of many parts.  It is together that we become the people of God.  Our faith makes sense within the context of a community.  It is not about me (you) and God against the world.  If it was, Christian self-help would make sense.

The Christian faith is something we live out together.  We are called to help each other, walk alongside each other, cry with each other, laugh with each other and mourn with each other.  It is a faith and lifestyle that calls us to help each other.

This is the good news of the gospel – you are not in it alone.  There is a community of people who are in it with you. So, forget self-help and embrace community-help, it’s the Jesus way.

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Filed under 1 Corinthians 12, community, faith, service to others

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