Yesterday morning, I posted (what I thought was) a pretty innocent status on my facebook page. You wouldn’t think saying, “have to go grocery shopping. How do we go through so much milk? I think I should buy a cow!” would cause too much trouble.
This simple little statement caused such an uproar on my profile that I couldn’t believe my eyes. 43 comments later and it’s still going. I have a friend named Jeri, she is a wonderful person. She believes that “God helps those who help themselves” thereby making it clear that she will do everything she can to prevent disease in her own body. She believes she is called by God to educate people about health and fitness. I do not disagree that we should stay healthy and fit. However, she and I don’t see eye to eye on some issues. One of those issues is Cow’s Milk. I will not get into what I believe about cow’s milk in this post as it’s not really what I am here to write about. We can respectfully agree to disagree. We do agree that God is real!
So what’s this post really going to be about? Well, Jeri brought up a very old saying “God helps those who help themselves”. Do I believe this? Absolutely not. I will tell you why!
Algernon Sidney (some believe it was Ben Franklin who first said it, he too was a deist) a Deist first coined the phrase “God helps those who help themselves.” Just in case you were wondering Deism is a religious and philosophical belief that a supreme being created the universe, and that this (and religious truth in general) can be determined using reason and observation of the natural world alone, without the need for either faith or organized religion. In other words, God created mankind and then abandoned them to their own destruction.
Doesn’t sound like Algernon Sidney really believed that God was in control does it?
So, then, Mrs. McFadden, what do you believe?
I’m so glad you asked!
I believe that God helps those who rely on Him. You can quote me on it! I can even back it up with scripture. I don’t think that Algernon Sidney could do that. The Apostle Paul writes to the Corinthian Church:
For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life;
Indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead;
who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us,
you also joining in helping us through your prayers, so that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed on us through the prayers of many.
(2 Corinthians 1:8-11)
If we could have helped ourselves there would have been no need for the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We would could rely on ourselves for everlasting life I suppose if God helps those who help themselves. However, John 3:16 says otherwise.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
I believe, not only is it wrong to say that God helps those who help themselves, but it is also prideful. Saying this makes people sound like they can accomplish something without God. When we rely on our own power, we fail. When we rely on God’s power we succeed.
So you decide. Does God help those who help themselves, or does God help those who rely on Him? Or should the question really be “Got God”?