The Lord Helps Those …

The expression, “The Lord helps those who help themselves,” is not found in the Bible. It appears to date back to Greek mythology and the story of “Hercules and the Waggoner.” Then something similar was used by Aristotle. The most popular use of it was by Benjamin Franklin in Poor Richard’s Almanac. 

It is often quoted like scripture, but it is not. 

It does raise an interesting question for me. Where does self-help fit into the Christian life? 

I am a firm believer in the power of God, the working of the Holy Spirit, and that prayer changes things. But does that mean that God does all the work? My job is to pray, trust and let God handle the rest. 

Well, yes … and no. 

There are so many things in this life that are beyond our control. Faith relies on a dependence that God will handle all those things where we have no power.

But some things are within our power. 

I once spoke with a lady, and she told me that she had total faith she was going to find a husband and a great job. Upon further discussion, I discovered that she lived in her parents’ basement. She rarely went out with anyone, let alone a prospective husband. She had not submitted her resume anywhere or filled out an application. She was (in her words) “Living on faith.” 

Now I believe God could move past the barriers in her life and do just what she hoped, but I also know that faith takes effort. The Apostle Paul prayed for open doors to receive the gospel … then he got on a ship and sailed to a nearby city. He started walking around and talking to people. The Lord made the divine connections while he was exerting effort. 

This question is essential for two reasons. I have met some people who have faith but use it to cover laziness. Second, I have met other people who are doing their part, but it hides the fact that they are trusting themselves. 

Neither one is correct. If you want to catch the wind of the Spirit, you must first hoist the sails while praying for the wind to start. 

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