Many of us can remember when we got stuck in something, and needed someone else’s assistance to get past it and move forward. In these situations, some of us swallow our pride and ask for help, while others stubbornly insist they can figure out the problem on their own. The saying “God helps those who help themselves” is nowhere in the Bible, yet countless people subscribe to this philosophy. This mindset comes from pride; although the world teaches self-effort and self-sufficiency, believing in it keeps us in a constant cycle of failure and frustration.
There’s nothing wrong with using our skills, education, mental capacity, or social networks to solve problems and succeed, but failing to acknowledge God or trust in Him in the process holds us back. We like to think that we can do anything we set our minds to, and it’s humbling to know that there are some things that we just can’t do without His help. For years, the woman with the bleeding issue depended on everything and everyone else but Jesus for help, with no results. When she placed her faith in Jesus, He healed her immediately. “And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague” (Mark 5:25-29).
It’s amazing how much time we can waste when we try to do things our own way by our own rules. A man who had suffered for decades, who had tried repeatedly to obtain healing through his own efforts, was immediately made whole when he encountered Jesus. “Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, ‘Do you want to be made well?’ The sick man answered Him, ‘Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk.’ And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked…” (John 5:5-9, NKJV). When we admit we need God’s help with an issue and decide to do what He tells us, the results are amazing.
There are plenty of life coaches and professional self-help “experts” ready to offer us advice on how to depend on ourselves to get ahead. That may work for awhile, but it’s only temporary. True and lasting success comes only from God. “Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me” (Psalm 54:4, NIV).
When we finally experience breakthrough, it’s not by our own power. God’s abilities are unlimited and He can do what we can’t. We show true wisdom when we give credit where credit is due. “This is the Lord's doing; it is marvellous in our eyes” (Psalm 118:23). Making our own success isn’t really success at all, but depending on Him brings us success on every level.