But why would self-sufficiency appeal to self-professed Christians?
Martin Luther warned, "Did we in our own strength confide, our striving
would be losing." (Martin Luther, A Mighty Fortress is Our God).
When this ancient proverb drifted over into Christian territory is
uncertain, though reportedly Joan of Arc said, "Aide toy, Dieu te aidera:" "Help
yourself and God will help you." Is this Biblical?
The Bible does not teach that we are self-sufficient, but rather
that we are helpless. Paul gloried in his weakness: "Therefore I
take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in
persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak,
then am I strong." (2 Corinthians 12:10). Christians do not
look to themselves, but to God for strength and sufficiency:
"I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence
cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and
earth." (Psalm 121:1-2).
We meet in the Bible with people who are not helping themselves
because they had given up:
"And she said, As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die."
(1 Kings 17:12).
"And the water was spent in the bottle,
and she cast the child under one of the shrubs. And she went,
and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a
bowshot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child.
And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept."
These women had given up, they were waiting to die. So if our
proverb holds true, God did not help them. But He did. This 'Bible quote' not only isn't there, it contradicts what is there,
which accounts for its unpopularity amongst those who actually read
the Bible. The Bible warns us not to put our hope in man:
"Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.
His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish. Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God.
. ." (Psalm 146:3-5).
If you put your trust in yourself, in what are you are trusting? A human being. . .and probably not
even royalty! There is "no help" to be found there. It is about on
a par with trusting in Hercules.