Myths have been around a long time. Now there is even a website (snopes.com) that is “The definitive Internet reference source for urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation.” Some people know a myth when they hear it, I wasn’t so fortunate.
As a child I struggled with depression which only got worse as I entered adolescence. For days I would isolate, cry and be riddled with negative thoughts. It was like being in a pit with no way out. During one of these dark times someone told me, “God (only) helps those that help themselves.” Something in my already distorted thoughts grabbed hold of this statement and I knew that I had to do more to help myself. That began years of spiritual self-reliance. I wanted so desperately to be well and tried so hard to be “happy”, was it not enough? How much did I have to help myself before He would help me? All this striving and God still wasn’t showing up.
This belief that became ingrained in my thinking and was fueled by many well meaning counselors telling me all the things I had to do to be well. For years it was behavior modification, medication and self-help books to no avail. That statement kept creeping into my thoughts and convincing me I still wasn’t doing enough to help myself. It had set me up to live in a perpetual cycle of failure because it was a lie and no matter how much I did to help myself it could never prove itself true. This convinced me that God was a rewarder of performance and mine just wasn’t up to par. Had I known the truth of the cross I would have recognized the lie and understood He is a God that helps the helpless and saves the sinner who can’t save himself.
Once I understood salvation I had a checklist in my head of all the I had to do to get “right” before I could be saved – back to the ‘ol “God (only) helps those that help themselves” drawing board. Now that lie was keeping me from the cross. Fed up, desperate and afraid I surrendered my life to Christ. I truly did not understand what I was doing at the time, but the Father did – He just wanted my total surrender. Knowing my distorted thoughts, I believe, He wanted to show me His unconditional love and His desire to “save” me because I had no ability to save myself (by His design). In His gentle way He said, “Now, I want you now, regardless.” It was as if a hand nudged me toward the altar because I had no intention of going down there myself.
In that sweet moment as I experienced the heart of the Father the lie I had believed for so long began to shatter. It took several years for all the layers of that to be chipped away but He is faithful. The very first verse He gave me that sank deep into my spirit was Ephesians 2, the complete and total contradiction to “God only helps those that help themselves”.
But God--so rich is He in His mercy! Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us, Even when we were dead (slain) by [our own] shortcomings and trespasses, He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ; [He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him, for] it is by grace (His favor and mercy which you did not deserve) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ's salvation). Ephesians 2: 4-5 AMP
The key to dispelling a lie is Truth – Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8: 32, 36. NIV I had tried so hard to prove the lie that I was miles away from truth.
More truth to conquer the lie:
While we were yet in weakness [powerless to help ourselves], at the fitting time Christ died for (in behalf of) the ungodly. Romans 5:6 AMP
For You have been a defense for the helpless, A defense for the needy in his distress ,A refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat; For the breath of the ruthless Is like a rain storm against a wall. Isaiah 25:4 NASB
For years I was enslaved to a lie that was nothing more than a quote from Ben Franklin in Poor Richard’s Almanac which had absolutely no basis in Truth. What lies do you believe? Seek Him and He will show you truth in your inner being!
Behold, You desire truth in the inner being; make me therefore to know wisdom in my inmost heart. Psalm 51:6 NIV
Come back tomorrow for MYTH BUSTER #2:
BEHIND EVERY GOOD MAN THERE IS A GOOD WOMAN.