I used to LOVE self-help books. I was all about bettering myself so that I could do better work for God. Until I realized I was going about things all wrong. Self-help doesn’t work when you’re a Christian because you can’t help yourself. You need God’s help.
We have nothing to contribute to our salvation except our sin. When we are born-again Christians, we follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit that lives within us. At no point do we, as sinful humans, contribute to the kingdom of God on our own.
““None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” (Romans 3:10-12)
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (John 14:26)
“And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.” (Isaiah 11:2)
“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” (Romans 8:26)
We would not be able to do good things for God without the fruits of the Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23) And we wouldn’t have the Holy Spirit if it weren’t for Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.
As Christians, we shouldn’t be focusing on self-help because we shouldn’t be focusing on ourselves. Colossians 3:1-4 tells us “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”
Self-help is deceiving. We desire to be better but we should desire instead to be like Jesus. 1 John 2:15-17 says, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”
We shouldn’t be reading self-help books, we should be reading the Bible. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)