Self-Help is a Popular Topic Today. Self-Sacrifice is not Popular

October 31, 2018 – Matthew 16:24-25

Self-help books are a billion-dollar business. It is easy to understand that people want to know more about how to use the mind to achieve higher levels of success. Here is a list of top–selling self-help books I’ve read:

The Magic of Thinking Big by Dr. David Schwartz

The Giant Within by Tony Robbins

The Power of Positive Thinking by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

It’s easy to understand why Christians want to be different. What’s harder to understand is we know God transformed us, but living a transformed life is difficult. It should be clear that self-help won’t change oneself.

We don’t attend worship; we are illiterate about the Bible; we want to give more time and money; we never share the Gospel; we don’t have a regular prayer time.

In the fourth century, A.D. Saint Augustine identified why it‘s hard to change using self-help methods. In his Confessions, he said,  “The mind gives an order to the body and is at once obeyed, but when it gives an order to itself, it‘s resisted.” 

So, why aren’t you doing those things you know to do? The answer is in self-service, not self-help. When you give an order to the body, it‘s resisted, but when you listen and hear God’s order to the body, it‘s at once obeyed.

Jesus has other thoughts on the key to self-help and reaching our highest potential. In Matthew, Jesus says we must deny ourselves and take up His cross, and follow Him. Jesus is speaking about self-sacrifice and not self-help.  

24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me.

25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will find it. 

Kevin Smith stated, “Any book is a self-help guide if you can take something from it.” God’s Word has many takeaways. The Bible is the best-selling book on self-sacrifice and self-help ever written. Read your Bible daily.