There is no end to the number of self-help books available. You can get “The twelve steps to a better you” or maybe “How to build a better self image in just 40 days.” The truth is I’m not sure if those are real names of books or not but I think you get my point. Pep talks and Prozac may be a comfort momentarily but they can only take you so far.
When it comes to self improvement one thing is for sure. You are going to be focused on yourself. I may be wrong but isn’t that how this whole problem of ours started? Remember what happened as soon as Adam ate the forbidden fruit? “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.” Their eyes focused on themselves and we’ve been trying to cover for ourselves ever since. First it was fig leaves but now it is drugs, alcohol, money, popularity, plastic surgery and on and on.
When Adam disobeyed God he died in his spirit so he found himself living in the flesh. According to the Bible the flesh realm is our bodies but includes our soul made up primarily of our intellect and emotions. Once Adam cut himself off from God he had no choice but to make decisions based on his own thoughts and impulses. From that time on man has been led, or driven, by these basic impulses and hungers. Self-preservation, self-exaltation, self-sufficiency and self-pleasing; do I need to go on?
In our day and age we go to the doctor to find relief from the results of our soulish living. We live as if we are independent of God which will only end in a self focused life. If carried out to its natural end we will inevitably become depressed. When the depression gets too much to bear we seek a doctor who will likely start aiding us by asking, “How do you feel?” Of course how we feel and what we think, from a merely human viewpoint, seems to hold the answer. The truth is we have yet another part of us most doctors won’t and can’t treat–It’s the spirit level.
In Hebrews 4:12 we discover it is the Word of God that divides the soul and spirit and without the Word we’re not going to be able to get to the spirit level. Doctors may be able to provide therapy and even medications to help ease discomfort, and probe around in your soul, but real results will only come when God’s Spirit is joined to our human spirit. Don’t misunderstand me. There may be some short term benefits from therapy and even medication, but humanity’s real problem is we’re dead in our trespasses and sins, cut off from God, and it is only His Spirit that can heal us and give us life.
According to Jesus, the Spirit “will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own initiative, but whatever he hears, he will speak; and he will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify me, for he will take of mine and will disclose it to you.” So, the Holy Spirit will point us to Jesus Christ—who he is and what he is about. You see how different that is from the world? The world tells us to look inside ourselves…find out about our repressed feelings… maybe we need healing for our inner child. God, on the other hand, tells us to fix our eyes on Jesus Christ. I’ll leave it up to you to determine which one you think really works in the end.