An article in New York magazine reports that the self-help movement has mushroomed into an “$11 billion industry dedicated to telling us how to improve our lives.” The article observed:
Today, there are at least 45,000 [books] in print of the optimize-everything cult we now call “self-help” …. Twenty years ago, when Chicken Soup for the Soul was published, everyone knew where to find it and what it was for. Whatever you thought of self-help—godsend, guilty pleasure, snake oil—the genre was safely contained on one … bookstore shelf. Today, every section of the store (or web page) overflows with instructions, anecdotes, and homilies [from self-help books] …. [Self-help books] replaced doctors, priests, and therapists (and maybe even parents, senators, and teachers) with public personalities who gave names to the problems of millions.
The article offered titles and brief descriptions for some of today’s most popular self-help books:
· How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less
How to make a lasting good impression, from teeth to breath to handshake to small talk.
· Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
Business and science-tested strategies for bending others to your will.
· 59 Seconds: Change Your Life in Under a Minute
Provides behavioral tweaks … in an amount of time anyone can spare.
· The 4-Hour Workweek
Self-help’s current version of get rich or get good at anything quick.
· The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life
· How to Think More About Sex
Yes, that is the real title.
The self-help movement promotes the idea that we can save ourselves and overcome our problems through our own efforts. That we have the ability to help ourselves out of all of our problems, no matter how sticky or challenging.
But the Bible says we don’t have the ability to save ourselves. Romans 5:6 says, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.” Self-help was no help at all, because we were helpless to save ourselves. We were defenseless against the guilt and power of sin. Completely at the mercy of our sinful nature. So God stepped in and did what we could never do.
We need help to resist self-help! We need the Holy Spirit to remind us of our dependence on God. So, ask God to give you the reminders you need to avoid self-reliance, and to depend on Him for the needs of every moment in every day!