Why is there always so much, too much, to do? It seems like you can spend an entire lifetime working, waiting for a chance to “just catch up.”
I’ve been waiting for such a chance for months now. I think I need to try a new approach.
Some say, “God helps those who help themselves.” This isn’t modern advice; it’s been around long enough that some people believe it’s from the Bible itself. (Spoiler alert: it’s not. However, this expression can be traced as far back as ancient Greece.) It seems like sound advice, and there is at least some Biblical truth to it. There are several Bible verses that encourage us to work hard, such as Colossians 3:23:
“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” Proverbs also includes plenty of warnings against the dangers of laziness.
But after these past few months of working hard, I’ve realized a bit of advice of my own: I can’t help myself. No matter what I try, I never have enough time or energy to do what needs to be done.
Because I’ve been trying to do it all on my own. And here’s another spoiler alert: I’m not strong enough to do it all on my own. None of us are.
Yes, the Bible encourages us to work hard. But God also “blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him” (Matthew 5:3), as we discussed in Tuesday’s LivingItOut. And God definitely has no use for human pride.
However, the knowledge that we can’t do anything without God’s help should not be a discouragement. Although we “cannot be fruitful unless we remain in [Jesus],” (John 15:4), we also “can do everything through Christ, who gives [us] strength.” (Philippians 4:13)
And while some people will debate whether “God helps those who help themselves,” there’s one thing that’s certain; when it comes to salvation, we absolutely cannot help ourselves. If salvation were entirely up to us, no one would ever be saved. But that’s alright, because God didn’t leave it up to us. Instead, he took all of it (our temptations, our sins, and the price they carry) onto himself when Jesus sacrificed his life for us on the cross.
6 When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. 7 Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. 8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
But you know what? Perhaps, even here, one might say, “God helps those who help themselves.” Yes, he paid the price on his own. There’s nothing we can do to earn it or deserve it. We can never save ourselves. At the same time, in order to experience this gift of salvation, we must accept it. So then it is up to us. But wait, there’s more. Ephesians 2:8-9 states that even our very faith is a gift from God. So we are back to God alone doing the work. Confused? Good. Now your God is big enough. I don’t know about you, but I want to follow a God who is beyond my comprehension. If you are reading this, and you haven’t accepted Christ’s gift of salvation, I pray that you would by accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior. Please, help yourself, and enjoy, and be sure to thank God for the gift of faith to receive this salvation.
Heavenly Father, please help us, because we can’t help ourselves. We know it is your will for us to work hard in your name, striving to reach our rewards at the end of the race, but we also know we will not make it without your wisdom and strength. We ask that you would provide these things for us, as well as the skills and energy we need to accomplish your will. For while we can do nothing without you, we can do everything with you.
Thank you, God, for offering these things to us, and for sacrificing your Son on the cross for us. We could not save ourselves, but you made a way for us to be saved. May many see our work, and the way we rely on you instead of ourselves, and be saved. Let your will be done. Amen.
This post was written by Payton Lechner, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study.
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