Woah! What did you say? Read more self help books?
Well yes, at least a few! Let me explain.
Self Help Books – The Bad
First of all, it is a broad brush term. For Bible believing Christians, it has come to mean:
- Books where you seek to better yourself, by your own doing, apart from the work of Christ and the Holy Spirit
- Books by Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, etc.
Under this umbrella, everything labeled Self-Help is antithetical to Christian teaching.
Yet, these are only a percentage of “self help” books. There are others.
Self Help Books – The Good
First of all, the broad brushing has to go. A Christian is one who “judgeth all things” (1 Cor 2:15 (pronounced one Corinthians right??). For instance, I know from my own discernment to avoid anything Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer.
In addition, the Bible speaks to all of life and is sufficient. Yet, God has gifted individuals with natural abilities. Wouldn’t it be great to learn golfing from Vijay Singh, baseball from Derek Jeter, creating passive income from Pat Flynn, ping pong from Forrest Gump, etc. Why? Because they are good at what they do!
Second, as Christians, if we have an area of life that we struggle with, there are people out there who are highly successful in those areas and in fact find their calling in helping others become more proficient in it.
This is where help is good. The only difference in this help and self help, is that with self help you do not have that person there to coach you in real-time. Instead, you have their books, videos, or audio to coach you on how to help yourself, based on their teachings, become more successful in that area.
I am naturally an introvert. I do not find conversation with everyone easy or natural. If you talked to me you may not note that, but rest assured that in my head there are all kinds of things going on during that conversation.
I never sought to better this area before. I labeled every such support self help, and cast it off as foolish.
However, recently I picked up a book recommended to me called “How To Communicate With Confidence” by Mike Bechtle. Sure the title sounds corny. However, this book has helped me tremendously!!! I am only left now wondering why I have not addressed this issue earlier in my life.
I see now that it is all because I had a broad brushed definition of self help.
Am I running to pick up a bunch of these books? No. But I will consider it again as I run across areas of life I am deficient in.
God has given men natural abilities. It follows then that men have natural inabilities.
As Christians, it is never a bad thing to find more success in our ineptitudes. Certainly, God’s word should be the primary document that we consult for all of life, but we should also look practically to those who excel in areas we are trying to become more proficient at.
For instance, Paul states he was “rude in speech” (2 Cor. 11:6). Moses was “slow of speech” (Exodus 4:10). Yet, I see the great things God did with these two, regardless. What a comfort to know that God chooses to demonstrate his strength in our weaknesses (2 Cor. 12:10). But it follows that I should not then see this truth, and find honor in my failure to communicate well. This would not at all benefit the advance of the Gospel and the growth of the Kingdom of God. It helps to be encouraged by God’s providence in the lives of Paul and Moses, and at the same time it helps to seek out those who are excellent at it and become better in this area. It just so happens that this often takes place in a book……a “self-help” book.
Thus it would be beneficial to find a few things in your life as well that you practically struggle with and get a good “help” book to help you (self) find success in that area. Be discerning of course, but be open to the suggestions of those are successful in your area(s) of deficiency.
Has anyone else found success in a “self-help” book? In what area? Let us know in the comments below.