Saturday, July 25, 2009

"God Helps Those..."

Dear Friends,
We rarely send out a Saturday devotional, but I find the subject addressed below interesting, and thought I'd go ahead and send it along. Thanks, Glen.

"God Helps Those..."

Benjamin Franklin once said that "God helps those who help themselves." Many people repeat this as if it were Scripture, while born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ often take a firm stand against the notion.

In the most elemental sense, the statement is false. The very problem with fallen humanity is that we cannot help ourselves concerning the most important matter of life, namely, our relationship with God, and subsequent life of devotion to Him and others. We cannot independently approach Him, we cannot cleanse our hands of the stains of sin, we cannot change our own hearts, and we cannot effect the life of loving holiness to which we are called. "Without Me, ye can do nothing" declared the Lord Jesus, and true life only begins when we acknowledge our helplessness. "LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am" (Psalm 39:4).

Conversely, believers must be careful in our response to Franklin's statement, which does contain a modicum of truth. We are called to be the most responsible of people, and to avail ourselves of the grace God gives to fulfill our duties and take care of our personal needs. "Study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you" (I Thessalonians 4:11). A categorical disagreement with Franklin's statement may cause some to perceive that we are advocating irresponsibility. We do well, therefore, to consider our position fully, and to affirm that our trust in God perfectly correlates with doing for ourselves that which His grace enables.

God gives to all "life and breath and all things" (Acts 17:25). Every creature in the universe is utterly dependent on Him for everything. The believer knows this, and rightly seeks to direct all glory to the source, supply, and sustenance that comes from God alone. However, it is also true that we play a role in applying ourselves to receive and apply such abundance. We trust Him, submit ourselves to Him, and do the things He lays before us with the wisdom and enabling He provides. We might say, God helps those who help themselves - to His help. Ben Franklin's statement is incomplete, providing opportunity for believers a platform to share the truth of our complete dependence on our Lord, and also acknowledge our devotion to the personal responsibility that genuine faith in the Lord Jesus always produces.

"In Him, we live and move and have our being."
(Acts 17:28)

"If any would not work, neither should he eat."
(II Thessalonians 3:10)

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