Looking at the Bible from a different perspective. Romans:12
A Self Help Approach
When a person today falls into a bit of personal trouble (be it grief or depression or marital issues or addiction etc...) there are a wealth of self help books for any given title on the book store book shelves and magazines and day time talk shows.
There are many good Christian self help resources that I personally what put up against any similar secular effort; don't get me wrong.
The self help approach to Bible study has it's pitfalls as I am beginning to witness, especially in this day and age where self help has become so shallow and merchandised, where everyone and their neighbor is a so-called expert.
There is a thin line between self help and self worship that the Christian media must now confront.
Prosperity, health, success, confidence, secrets of restoring a marriage, all are the primary focus of this self help generation. To be able to browse through a few pages, pick up a few tips and pointers, maybe memorize a list of top five positive affirmations, and from that be able to solve all the problems one faces; that is all we really want really want to invest.
A thirty five dollar Compact Disc set on saving your marriage... Yea that should solve it!
How then is the Bible (and therefore Christianity) any different from all of these other available personal resources?
A more Biblical Approach
I can't say that meeting a person at their most urgent need isn't important; sometimes it is all that is left us. Some would say to not do so would be heartless, I guess that good intention depends on the overall result.
What must be said however is that in this world of self help books and seminars and weekend retreats the Bible itself must always stand for something loftier than just another personal resource. There must be a conscious balance between practical daily relevance and what is best for the mind soul body and spirit big picture.
This age without doubt is the "Me" generation. Everything about it is about "Me". Amongst the Church even, the sermons, the worship, the Bible study, most everything done in God's name currently boils down instead to me.
Let me be blunt. There are a great many Bible dabblers today. They want all the benefits of the Biblical wisdom as related to a particular life issue without having to invest themselves any further than that.
Evangelists tend to think that if a person is willing to try the deep waters of the Bible out one toe at a time that they will eventually be willing to dive completely in. This notion cannot be tangibly proven.
What can be proven is that these baiting or bridging methods put the Bible on the same shaky footing as any other piece of secular advice. It is evident that the end result is a large number of people who consider themselves Christian who in best terms should be defined as nominal dabblers.
Friend, you are not going to find the Bible much of what a publishing editor is going to classify a typical self help book. You are not going to find charts and polling data and the collective advice from the latest best selling experts. You won't find the targeted demographical marketing techniques.
What you are going to find in the Bible rather is story after story of persons (and nations) that thought that they could do it themselves, that did it their own way, that for some sought the advice and wise counsel of others, that had a slight notion of what God would think or say, or even did what they did in what they thought was God's name.
What you'll find here is example after example, soul after struggling soul, whom after much fruitless self determination find themselves utterly broken and destroyed falling to their knees, crying out to accept the mercy of God that had been there all along had they first sought it.
Sadly, you'll also find story after story of person (and nation) that having then received God's mercy now turn right back into their own self determined cycle of spiritual neglect and insolence.
There is a very good reason that there are so many self help books on the shelves covering the very same age old topics. Had there been one book that adequately addressed the topic's rightful answer then all other books on that subject would be discontinued.
As much of the self help content is simply Biblical help stripped of God and re-packaged, the volumes of books in publication also draws out the truth of the matter that audiences are not really as invested in solving their problem at any cost as they would have you believe.
The ageless Bible instead addresses all topics as symptoms of the same underlying core problem. If you reject the Bible you reject the God of the Bible and thereby reject the Bible's answer.
I would almost rather encourage you to read your way through all those other books and when they all fall short then you come back because, that in your present state of self help mind you are most likely not going to see the Bible in the truth-filled light it has earned and deserves.
Don't get me wrong, you may well be able to sustain your marriage (or fill in the blank) reasonably in some form going elsewhere for help. The question is will your solution be as good as what God has designed for you?
Will your solution cause problems elsewhere?
Will you simply accept things the way that they are...put a solution off until you know better what it is that you should do?
Is there yet another self help book(s) in your future?
A Personal Challenge
I have shared my sincere thoughts with you... I do want to see you find your answers. No one can just hand over to you those answers however.
I would like to share some scripture with you... not your typical dosage of scripture mind you... and it may not exactly have anything to do with what you currently think that you're going through... I am simply asking you to take a leap of faith that the Bible can help you.
I am preparing a study of a very peculiar passage of scripture in kjv@Romans:12 that spring boards into a much broader public discussion of some very interesting life transforming principals and ways of seeing the greater context of the Bible in a various helpful lights.
I especially challenge those of you who have made it their interest to show the Christian walk to others in the very best possible manner.
Table of Contents:
SelfHelpBible1 - kjv@Romans:12:1-3 Mercy, Service, Transformation, and Full Perspective.
SelfHelpBible2 - kjv@Romans:12:4-8 Unity Utilization and Office
SelfHelpBible3 - kjv@Romans:12:9 Love Hypocrisy and Abhorrence
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