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Is It Okay for Christians to Read Self-Help Books?

Jonathan Malm - January 16, 2017

Yes, it’s okay for Christians to read self-help books. There, got the short answer out of the way. But that’s not the whole story.

To be honest, I wrestle with this self-help questions often. In a sense, I write self-help. This blog sort of is. My book, Created for More, is a devotional with a self-help element to it. And my upcoming book, The Hidden Option, definitely dips into the self-help genre.

The problem with most self-help books, though, is that they don’t tell the whole story. They only get you part of the way there. It’s like watching the first Lord of the Rings movies, but not finishing and seeing Frodo ultimately destroy the ring.

Self-help books don’t tell the whole story for Christians.

The Bible actually tells us that we can do all things. That reads a lot like a self-help book, doesn’t it? But it doesn’t stop there.

1. God gives us the strength.

First of all, we need to acknowledge that it’s God who makes us capable. Christians can read self-help books to see what they’re capable of, but they should also acknowledge that it’s God who gives them the strength.

2. Only God can tell us the things worth doing.

Being able to accomplish anything I put my mind to is a nice truth. But what if everything I’m striving for is ultimately of no value? Only God can give us the tasks that will make lasting impact. Self-help books can’t tell me you what God has prepared only for you to do.

3. Apart from God, we can never do anything bigger than ourselves.

Finally, self-help books can’t tell you how you fit into the bigger story God is telling. What’s your role in the story of humanity? How depressing if your life only touches itself. But through God’s empowerment and direction, we can do things that will echo throughout eternity.

So yes, it’s okay for Christians to read self-help books. But if that’s all you’re doing, you’re missing out on something greater. Tap into the direction God has for you, and I guarantee you can live a life that goes beyond the normal.