The Self-Help Section

“The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from
the government, and I’m here to help'” (Ronald Reagan, August 1986).
There is an old African joke where the Tanzanians, who are socialist,
accuse Kenyans, who are capitalists, of being a “dog-eat-dog society.”
The Kenyans have an answer, however. They say that Tanzanians are a “dog-eat-nothing society.” Which makes me think of Churchill’s apt definition
of socialism: “Socialism is an economic system where everybody is equally
miserable!”
Many people think of Christianity as the ultimate self-help
system. They search the Scriptures for better techniques for making
money, having better marriages, and becoming more self-confident. It
fascinates me to see purportedly Christian books with titles such as
“Christian Assertiveness,” or, “Ten Easy Techniques to Make Your Church
Grow.”
Christianity is not a system of independence; it’s one of dependence. We
rely on God, not better techniques! Don’t look for Christian material on
the “self-help” bookshelf! The Christian life is not about
self-confidence; it’s about God-confidence. It’s not about self-help;
it’s about God’s help. It’s not about methodology; it’s about mercy!
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own
understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your
paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5,6).
It’s true. The Lord really is here to help!

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Stan Mitchell

Stan has preached since 1976, in Zimbabwe, California, Texas and Tennessee. He serves as preacher for the Red Walnut Church of Christ in Bath Springs, TN. He is currently Professor of Bible at Freed-Hardeman University. He is married to the former Marjorie McCarthy, and has one daughter, Tracy Watts. He is the author of four books: The Wise Get Wiser, the Foolish More Foolish: The Book of Proverbs, Give the Winds a Mighty Voice: Our Worship in Song, and Equipping the Saints for Ministry. He has recently published another book, "Will Our Faith Have Children: Developing Leadership in the Church for the Next Generation.

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One thought on “The Self-Help Section

  1. The Self Help Section.
    I appreciate your comments and agree whole-heartedly that any book or teaching that encourates us to rely on our selves should be avoided. I found your site by searching for Christian assertiveness. Assertiveness is a modern buzz word, however it probably describes a mature christian very well. Personally I have found that any christian book about growth and maturity always points us to God throught Jesus and the ministry of the Holy Spirit. To be assertive means to Love our neighbour as ourselves, and this often requires inner healing from the Holy Spirit. Any book that explains this and helps us to seek inner healing if required from the Holy Spirit (maybe through counselling) can only be good in my eyes. Of course, we have to be able to discern which authors are authentic in this. But I would never be put off looking in the so called “self help” section of my Christian book shop.

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