Self-help vs. Real Help


Self- help books, TV shows, podcasts, and blogs seem to be all the rage right now and I’m not surprised. People are hungry for answers to the building anxiety and trouble they face. It seems like our world is getting more fast-paced, less sure of itself, more lonely, less connected.

People are looking for help.

I was recently asked my opinion on a book that “everyone is reading,” a book that seems to be doing a lot of good and helping a lot of people. I paused after the question because I wanted to choose my words well. I didn’t want my words to be misheard or misunderstood. I went on to share the positive things I had heard about the book being honest in saying that I had not read the book myself but was familiar with the author and the other material they produce. But then I went further and said I believe self-help books can only get a person so far. They can help a lot of people… except for the ones they can’t. They can help you process where healthy boundaries need to be, teach positive parenting, tell you to love yourself, teach you to create better habits… until they can’t. They often help for a short while and can teach valuable principles but aren’t able to go deep enough inside a person to bring true healing.

You see, the difference between self-help and real help is that self-help can only take you so far. Many of these books are phenomenal and I’m grateful to have them but they eventually quit having the answers you need. At some point you wont be able to read enough, listen enough, or share enough to counteract the pain on the inside. The pain that only Real-help brings. The help offered by the Helper Himself.

The original Greek word for Holy Spirit is Parakletos which means advocate, comforter, mediator, intercessor and helper. Jesus told us in John 16 it was good for Him to go away back into Heaven so that He could send the Parakletos (Holy Spirit) to us. He was saying that He was sending us a Helper. But not a helper that was one man on earth but a Helper that would take up residence on the inside of those who believed on Jesus and were born-again. If that’s you, then the Helper lives inside of YOU (Romans 8:9).

When you began to understand Who lives in you, things begin to change. Furthermore, when you begin to understand yourself as a 3-part being, you will understand why self-help can only take you so far. In case you haven’t heard me teach on this before, I’ll give you a quick recap. God made you to have 3 parts. You are a Spirit (the part that lives forever and part of you that was born-again when you made Jesus your Lord), you have a soul (mind, will, emotions), and you live in a body.

I like to think of a target when I think of Spirit, Soul, and Body. The target’s center ring is your Spirit. It’s at the core of who you are. Its the real you. Then comes the Soul ring and last the Body ring. To bring lasting change to your whole self, you must feed your Spirit/Core- that’s when real change and healing happens. What do you feed it? The Word of God that brings health to all your flesh (Proverbs 4:22).

This is what makes self-help (which targets your Soul) different than Real-help (that targets your Spirit/Core).

When you feed your Core by reading the Word of God, spending time in His presence worshiping Him, listening to the Helper Who’s taken up residency inside of you, you experience lasting change.

To watch a teaching video I did on this topic, click here.