Bookstores have long recognized the “self-help” section as one of the most popular destinations for customers. Who doesn’t want to improve, whether it’s becoming a more successful person, more adept craftsman, more skilled artist, athlete or photographer, better spouse or parent, or any of myriad other life pursuits?

We’ve even spiritualized the self-help philosophy with the popular adage, “God helps those who help themselves.” But this is actually not a biblical truth. If anything, the essence of the Scriptures is quite contrary to the self-help mindset.

British preacher and theologian A.W. Pink summed it up well when he said, “To declare that God helps those who help themselves is to repudiate one of the most precious truths taught in the Bible, and in the Bible alone; namely, that God helps those who are unable to help themselves, who have tried again and again only to fail.

We could cite dozens, even hundreds of passages about how the Lord helps those unable to help themselves, but a good place to start is Jesus. Speaking to His disciples, Jesus used a vine as a metaphor for dependence on Him:

“Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself, it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing” — John 15:4-5

Think and pray
Certainly, we all have areas was can and should improve. Learning and application is essential for personal, professional and spiritual growth. But from an eternal perspective, we truly cannot do anything apart from the indwelling power of God’s Spirit.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. — James 1:5

Jesus, my desire is to apply truth and wisdom in every area of my life. As I pursue this, help me remember to seek You first. Amen.

This post is an excerpt from a longer post found on

Bob Tamasy is a husband, father and grandfather. He has edited and co-authored numerous books, including "Business At Its Best," "The Heart of Mentoring" (with David Stoddard), "Tufting Legacies," and "The Powder King." A journalist for nearly 45 years, Bob served as editor of community newspapers and a magazine editor, and freelance writer. He is a frequent contributor to CBMC’s Monday Manna, a weekly devotional for business leaders.