QA #16 – Melissa H. – I am trying to understand the phrase, “God helps those who help themselves.” I have told my family members that I am trying to seek God’s will and what He has planned for my future (career, living situations, etc) and sometimes certain family members will say, “You need to help (or lookout for) yourself.” And from my perspective, that makes me think, leaving God out of the picture, and then once I help myself, God will follow. I’m not sure if that has the same meaning as the first quotation, but I don’t understand the mindset.

I know I cannot sit back and relax and God will just work, I need to take a step in some direction and see if God opens a door. I guess I should ask them what they mean when they say it, but I’m wondering what you have experienced with those situations.

Dave – Great question and thanks for sending it.

Your perception of what your relatives have said to you is correct. The spirit behind it comes straight from this world, not God’s Kingdom. It is a spirit of humanism which asserts that humans are here to fend for themselves, and, if there is a god, he/she/it has given humans abilities and therefore the rest of life is up to them to make something for themselves. It smacks in the face of John 15 which talks about how fallen human must totally depend upon God for everything. We can do nothing apart form Jesus, according to this Word.

Now let’s turn to God’s Word for further insight. Proverbs 19:9 states, “The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.” Combine this with Proverbs 16:3 which says, “Commit your works to the LORD and your plans will be established.

So it seems to me that God expects us to make plans, but not apart from His spirit, Word, or counsel. If our lives are truly submitted to Him and we are living for His Kingdom on earth rather than our own, then He will guide our plan-making and cause us to succeed. So, if you come up with some plan or direction for your life, submit it to God and pray about it. Another option for major decisions is to consult a pastor. It is his job to guide “the sheep.” Therefore, he will have an anointing from the Holy Spirit to do so. It is good for us to tap into that source that God has provided within His Church.

The spirit of this world, which will never recognize the Spirit of God (John 14:17), hates when people depend on God. Hence, the flak you have sensed from your relatives is normal. Love and respect them, but do not allow that spirit to control you.

Melissa H. – Thank you Dave, that helped a lot! The Proverb verses you mentioned were really helpful too and I will continue to look upon those verses. You also reaffirmed that I need to take action on what Pastor Bruce told me when I met with him a few weeks ago. Thank you again for your help! I really appreciate your spiritual guidance.

N.F. – Great answers!