Many religious people disparage self-help claiming that individuals are attempting to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps.
Unfortunately, they overlook the fact that until you decide to help yourself, there's not much that God can do to assist you.
After practicing medicine for four decades, I can say with absolute assurance that God helps those who help themselves. When you do your part, God always does his part, but your part must come first.
I have many patients formerly addicted to alcohol, methamphetamine and cocaine, who now are free from their addictions. All of them reached a point where they said, "No more." They had enough, and they made a conscious decision to stop destroying themselves with chemicals. God didn't make them stop. They decided to stop on their own. It is abundantly clear that God placed the power of self-help into every human heart, and when conditions are right, this gift emerges and accomplishes the seemingly impossible.
Self-help isn't a mystery. It's simply a partnership with God in which you work like everything depends on you, and you trust like everything depends on God.
The reason you work like everything depends on you is because it does.
The reason you trust like everything depends on God is because God honors the work you do and rewards you with positive results.
No matter how hard you pray, God is not going to do for you what you can do and should do for yourself. When you do what you can, God steps in and does the rest.
Scripture says that one man sows, another waters, someone else reaps, but it is God who gives the increase.
If you place a single seed in the ground, and it sprouts and yields a harvest of exactly one seed, then what is the benefit of planting the crop? One seed in, one seed out, and nothing gained. There is no increase.
But that's not the way that God made things work. A single seed springs to life and produces a bountiful harvest. Hundreds of new seeds miraculously appear.
God built increase into nature to teach us an important lesson. Our job is to sow positive seeds, and God's job is to give the increase. Our job is to do our part so that God can do his.
When God created the world, he was not miserly or stingy. He created a world in which the increase is one-hundred fold. In God's world, when you sow the seeds and water the crops, there will be a hundred fold return on your efforts.
Self-help is not the creation of man. It's the creation of God and it's built into the fabric of the moral universe. There is no mystery here. If you do your part, God will do his part, and amazing things will happen. But first you must do your part so that God has something to work with.
When you work like everything depends on you and trust like everything depends on God, you have discovered the secret of self-help.