I love bookstores, I love walking among the stacks of fresh minted books, and thinking of the possibilities. I love the library too, because of the stacks of well used and loved books that have passed knowledge from one person to another. But, this weekend, the bookstore annoyed me.
I love seeking knowledge. I love seeking God focused knowledge even more, why else would I be in a Seminary? But, anyways, I digress.
I went to my local Christian Bookstore to mosey through the new books. I like spending time there because every once in awhile I find a great book, like Special Needs Special Ministry (which sadly seems to be now out of print) that really helps me either spiritually or educationally. I would have totally missed it if I hadn’t spent time there. It was the only type of book on Disability Ministry (which proves to me we need more authors out there working on this topic..hint hint 🙂 It is now a part of my class curriculum and I love it.
This weekend though, when I was walking through the books, I was confronted with all of the “self-help” literature. Odd titles that rubbed me wrong and made it seemed that we can do certain things through our own power. “How to Diet like Adam and Eve,” “Be the Perfect Godly Wife,” “Turn your loveless marriage into a Godly one,” “Change your Child’s attitude in 48 hours” (Or something like that)
We are so focused with doing things through our own power. Even when finding ways to have a better prayer life, it is about what you need to do -finding a quiet place, doing a ritualistic action- rather than asking God to teach you how to pray.
Hello!! The Bible covered this!
The disciples asked Jesus about how to pray! “Lord, teach us how to pray.” (Luke 11:1-13)
Christ answered, he gave us a format if we need it. When we are first learning to pray, or to learn how to pray deeper we follow it. “When you pray, say: “‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.’”
Christ reminds us that we need to remember that
1) God has the power, not us.
2) He will give us what we need for the day.
3) He has forgiven us, and we MUST forgive others.
4) God won’t lead us to be tempted. (We can do that all on our own)
Why do we need self-help books on how to pray more, when we have the greatest teacher giving it to us…for free?
I’m sure these people who are writing these books are great, they are Christians who want to help others. In someways, they are teachers who are reaching out to numerous hurting disciples.
My complaint, hesitancy, whatever you want to term it, is that we are so busy saying that I can change through my own power, that we forget that we can ask God, to change our hearts.
We can ask for more faith- Romans 12:3 “God has allotted each a measure of faith.”
We can ask that our faith will be sustained- Luke 22:31-32 “”Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded to sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you, that you faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers”
Why do we ask for other people to guide our faith when we can ask God to help us?
We can get disciplers who encourage us on our walk and who teach us to get deeper into our faith (I talk about the Paul, Barnabas, Timothy relationship here) and we should have them. They are helpful, and we are all called to do the same.
I am just hesitant to have someone I do not know, have no clue about their own spiritual walk telling me how to find God and be his child. I have the Bible for that.
Self help books have helped people. I know this. But, it’s not Scripture and it is not inspired by God. On the ladder of helpfulness, for me the self-help book isn’t even represented for me.
What are your thoughts on Self-Help books?
Romans 15:4 “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.”
2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.”