Pastor Barry Briggs
The Springs Church
135 N. Grant, Cedar Springs
The Bible is the most revered book in America, but it is also one of the most misquoted. Politicians, motivational speakers, coaches—all types of people—quote passages that sound like they are from the Bible, but actually aren’t in the Bible at all. These phantom passages include phrases such as “This too shall pass,” “Moderation in all things,” and “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” But probably the most quoted Bible verse that is not in the Bible would have to be “God helps those who help themselves.”
The phrase is often mistaken as Scriptural, but it appears nowhere in the Bible. The phrase actually comes from ancient Greek literature. It is illustrated by two of Aesop’s Fables. And it is often attributed to Benjamin Franklin, who used a variation of the phrase in his Farmer’s Almanac. And people commonly think the Bible says, “God helps those who help themselves.”
Ironically, the Bible actually teaches the exact opposite of this particular phrase. The truth is, God helps the defenseless and helpless.
Romans 8:26 (NLT) says, “The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness.” And Psalm 34:18 (NLT) says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”
All throughout the Bible we find examples of how God helps us when we can’t help ourselves. If you take a close look at the Bible you see that many times God comes into helpless lives and makes the difference. Just look at the life of Jesus. Jesus dedicated His life to helping hurting people.
In Luke 4:18-19 (NIV/NKJ) Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
He doesn’t say the Lord has sent me to help people who have their act together. To help people who can help themselves. To help people who pull themselves up by their bootstraps. No. Who did Jesus come to help? He’s very clear. He says, “I came to earth to help five specific types of people: the poor, the brokenhearted, the imprisoned, the blind, and the oppressed.”
What do all these people have in common? They are hurting. Later on Jesus says a doctor doesn’t come to help the healthy; a doctor comes to help the sick. Jesus came to help hurting people. Story after story in the Gospels you see Jesus helping hurting people. Jesus says, “It’s what I live for. I am here to help the poor, the broken, and the blind.”
In all of our lives there is a point of helplessness. It may be a point of helplessness over a relationship that you can’t get right, or a financial situation that cannot be solved, or a habit that you just can’t seem to break. It could be a point of helplessness at a point of growth that you just can’t seem to grow through, or a confidence that you just can’t seem to get. You’d like to be able to parent better, but you just can’t break through that confidence barrier. You feel helpless.
Be encouraged today. God wants to help you at your point of helplessness. He doesn’t say He will only help you if you can help yourself. He says He will help you if you will trust in Him. If you feel a little hopeless today because you’ve been helpless for a long, long time know that God cares. He loves you. He is close to the brokenhearted. He wants to help you, and He will if you ask Him to.