"Don't think you're going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open." James 1:7,8 (The Message)
We've all heard the old saying, "God helps those who help themselves." While the sentiments behind this whimsical adage are admirable, the saying itself is quite untrue.
Yes, it is true that a person shouldn't sit around aimlessly all day just expecting God to do this or that for them, while they themselves do nothing. But the adage errs significantly by failing to realize that God in fact does not help those who help themselves; rather, He helps the helpless.
He is the Defender of the defenseless; He rescues the perishing, saves those who are falling, and lifts ups those who have been struck down. He is a Father to the orphan, a Friend to sinners, and the Champion of those who are weak. Indeed, Paul summed it up -- "when we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly" (Romans 5:6).
The problem with "helping yourself" and asking God for a little assistance is that you're the one still calling the shots -- keeping all your options open. Few things are more insulting to God than for a man to come before Him while holding onto other options....just in case the "God thing" doesn't work out.
Remember Lazarus, the dead man? He had no options whatsoever. Jesus stood before the cold stone which sealed his tomb and ordered it removed, and then called out, "Lazarus, come forth!" And the dead man did so, now fully alive. A significant part of this event is contained in the name Lazarus -- it means "without help." You see? God helps the helpless.
Like Lazarus of old lying cold in his tomb, you and I will never be called into a new and deeper, more vibrant and wondrous walk with Jesus until we realize we truly have no other options but God.
Peter was speaking for all of us that day when he said, "Lord, there is no one else that we can go to! Your words give eternal life" (John 6:68).