21
Mar
11

“God Helps Those…”

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.” – Proverbs 3:5 (NLT)

“God helps those who help themselves,” someone said to me not long ago.  And then they continued with, “That’s what the Bible says…right?”  Umm….actually no, the Bible never says this nor does it imply it.  This saying is usually attributed to Ben Franklin, quoted in Poor Richard’s Almanac in 1757, but it actually comes from Aesop’s fables in a Greek myth called, “Hercules and the Waggoner.”  In it we read, “A Waggoner was once driving a heavy load along a very muddy way.  At last he came to a part of the road where the wheels sank half-way into the mire, and the more the horses pulled, the deeper sank the wheels.  So the Waggoner threw down his whip, and knelt down and prayed to Hercules the Strong.  ‘O Hercules, help me in this my hour of distress,’ quoth he.  But Hercules appeared to him, and said: ‘Tut, man, don’t sprawl there.  Get up and put your shoulder to the wheel. The gods help them that help themselves.’”

The Bible teaches something altogether different.  Jesus said of His own ability,  “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does.” (John 5:19 NLT)  Jesus further says about our own ability, “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5 NLT)  The closest the Bible comes to affirming our own strength is when the Apostle Paul says, “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13 NLT)  Even then it is clear that the best thing I can do to help myself is to depend utterly on Christ to give me strength.

I wish I could return to redo all of the times in my life where my attitude was, “No need to bother God about this.  I can do this on my own.  It’s okay Lord, I got this under control.”  Because the truth is that 99.9% of the time, those are the moments in my life that ended up the most screwed up, and sometimes positively tragic!    Has God given most of us good sound minds that are capable of making decisions?  Absolutely, but we also must remember that those same minds are subject to our own fallen state and the influence of our Adversary the Devil.  It is only by my faith in God and the presence of His Spirit that I am able to choose wisely and according to His plans and purposes.

So does God help those who help themselves?  I believe the statement might better be phrased, “God helps those who will allow themselves to be helped by Him.”  Now that’s a philosophy worth stating and worth living.  Without a doubt His understanding and strength is infinitely greater than ours and its available to us, so why in the world would we depend on our own?

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2 Responses to ““God Helps Those…””


  1. 1 Regina Barnes
    March 21, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    I truely loved reading this……

  2. March 22, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    If you like this blog post check out the one my Pastor, Jeff Kapusta wrote yesterday! It’s convicting and encouraging all at once!
    http://www.jeffkapusta.com/2011/03/22/the-lord-is-not-with-you/


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