Does God Help Those Who Help Themselves?

First, a confession: My life revolved around to-do lists, and things got done. . .but contentment eluded me like  sunshine in the Northwest.

Little things got done: get a haircut. CHECK.

And big things: write a book. CHECK.

And even bigger things: marry my college sweetheart, buy a house, start a family. TRIPLE CHECK.

I worked My List. Another accomplishment. Another reason to feel good. Hey, doesn’t the Bible say, “God helps those who help themselves”?

Uh, no.

Most Christians — 80 percent, according to a poll by the Barna Group — believe it’s scriptural. Far from it. The message championing self-initiative denies God’s grace.

The Bible speaks clearly that God helps those who cannot help themselves. He even helps those who don’t deserve it. People like you and me.

Here are a few examples from the Bible:

~ Jesus fed 5,000 men (and probably as many women and children) with two loaves of bread and a few fish.

~ Jesus healed a man who had waited by a pool for 38 years but couldn’t get ito the water. “I have no one to help me,” he said to Jesus “and I can’t do it myself.”

~ Jesus sought out Zacchaeus, a cheat, and ate at his home with the dregs of the community, sharing the good news.

So what does this mean and why does it matter?

Knowing God helps the helpless means that you and I can rest in Jesus. We don’t have to work to get blessings (this is work not grace) because believers have every spiritual blessing now (Ephesians 1:3). You also have complete acceptance in Christ. You cannot do anything to become more acceptable.

You may even discover, as I did, that all the to-do lists in the world fail to translate into real significance. Sure, you may complete more stuff as you work you list. But are you content?

Leave a comment and join the conversation!

You Are Blessed,




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  1. says

    Yes, Amanda. It is freeing. We can do nothing to earn God’s grace. It’s a gift! I was so glad when I found out years ago that “God helps those who help themselves” is NOT biblical. I believed that lie for years. Jesus helps the helpless. :-)

  2. says

    Lucy I am such a cheerleader on this message. So many space teach to “do what you can do, then leave the rest to God” when God is clearly teaching us the polar opposite in His word. That HE will provide our paths and make them straight, that He will provide understanding and provision for our lives if we trust His voice. We are given wisdom if we simply ask for it, we are given pardon when we seek it, we are forgiven in our admitting we need help and forgiveness…God indeed helps those who seek Him!

  3. Lorraine Kowalski says

    My husband and I argue this all the time,I
    say go to God first, he says do all you can first to me that is putting self before God.By choosing to go to God first we are helping ourself,therefore God helps us.

    • says

      Lorraine, Jesus did it all — his death and his resurrection. Those of us who are in Christ now have his live though the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus didn’t come for the healthy, like the prideful Pharisees of his day; he came to heal the sick and strengthen the weak. Only when you and I acknowledge our need and seek him can we live joyfully. He loves each one of us SO much.


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