“God helps those who… help themselves.” Did you realize that 82% of Americans said they believed that the phrase “God helps those who help themselves” is a direct quote from the Bible? It’s not. The saying comes from Aesop’s Fables. The story goes like this: “A Wagoner was driving a heavy load along a very muddy way. He came to a part of the road where the wheels sank half-way into the mire, and the more the horses pulled, the deeper the wheels sank. So, the Wagoner threw down his whip and knelt down and prayed to Hercules the Strong. “O Hercules, help me in this hour of distress.” But Hercules appeared to him and said ‘Man, don’t sprawl there. Get up and put your shoulder to the wheel. The gods help them that help themselves.'”
In other words, one of the most popular religious phrases in America isn’t Biblical – it’s pagan. Let’s see what the Word of God teaches on the subject of God’s help. We will go to a familiar story in the Bible and read about a blind man named Bartimaeus.
Mark 10:46-52, Then they came to Jericho. And as He was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a large crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the road. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 Many were sternly telling him to be quiet, but he kept crying out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him here.” They called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage, stand up! He is calling for you.” 50 Throwing aside his cloak, he jumped up and came to Jesus. 51 And answering him, Jesus said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” And the blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, I want to regain my sight!” 52 And Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him on the road.
So, we can see that God helps those who put themselves in a position to receive His grace. We do that in many ways, but three are evident in this passage.
1. Admit their need (verse 46,47)
2. Trust Him fully (verse. 48-51)
3. Follow in Christian discipleship (verse 52)
It is not popular to admit we need help outside of ourselves. Earthly thinking tells us to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and do it our way. Scripture teaches that we need something from outside of ourselves to help us so we can realize our full potential. People like it when you speak out of your own experience. You can only do that if you’ve had one.
The beggar threw his cloak aside! Why is that important to the text? I think it is because his cloak was his way of getting by. His cloak kept him warm, and his cloak was what he spread in front so coins could be dropped in. Throwing his coat aside is a symbol of complete trust in Christ. It’s a symbol of not leaning on your own understanding but leaning on Christ.
God promises help to those who will follow him fully. The book of Deuteronomy is full of promises to the Israelites that if they follow God, then He will bless them. God is close to those who walk in the light that they have.
Look again at what Bartimaeus did:
When he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 Many were sternly telling him to be quiet, but he kept crying out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
He heard about Jesus; then, he acted on what he had heard. He believed Jesus could heal him. So, he cried out! It’s the same with us! Bartimaeus had not caused his blindness. But he knew Jesus had healed others, who, through no fault of their own, also had infirmities. He admitted that he could not help himself. Jesus was his only hope.
Again, notice Jesus would not let him keep his security blanket. He would have to cast it away. He needed physical help from Jesus, but he also needed spiritual help. Jesus helped him with his spiritual need of depending on himself for his existence and old habits before he helped him with his physical need of sight.
Jesus is not interested in helping us do things our way. No matter what you are going through, Jesus is there and willing to help you if you will be like poor blind Bartimaeus and cry out to Him. You must believe in Him, cry out to Him, and cast aside your security blanket, knowing He is our helper in every time of need.
Do you need Jesus to help you with what you are going through? Will you cry out to Him for help and be willing to cast aside the things that are hindering you?
Go to Romans Road to Salvation and/or Prayer of Rededication