“Are There Biblical Solutions to the Issues Self-Help Gurus Address?”

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People like Wayne Dyer offer some interesting answers to everyday problems, like moving on with your life, overcoming excuses, etc. Are there Biblical answers like these self-help gurus offer?

Drs. John Townsend and Henry Cloud, writing and speaking partners who wrote the Boundaries books, are exceptionally wise men whose perspective is drenched in scripture and biblical thinking. In fact, Dr. Townsend earned a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary, which means he REALLY knows his theology. Between the two of them, who have written a number of books together and separately, there is a wide range of “self-help” resources, but which are really about plugging God’s principles into our needs. (And then, the reader discovers, it’s actually about plugging ourselves into God and His principles—first things first!) I would especially recommend Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life (Townsend and Cloud) and Changes That Heal (Cloud). Here’s a link to their website: www.cloudtownsend.com

Hope you find this helpful.

Sue Bohlin

Addendum: My colleague at Probe, Heather Zeiger, sent this follow-up email:

Just for reference to the Biblical Self-help question. One can be encouraged that many of the Puritans have written on these self-help issues, so Christian authors have actually been publishing in this area for a while. I wouldn’t necessarily direct someone to the Puritans right off the bat, but I think it is encouraging that back in the 1600s, Jonathan Edwards wrote about procrastination (one of his selected sermons in book form is entitled “Procrastination or The Sin and Folly of Depending on Future Time”) and about those things (affections) that we love more than we should. I’m reading John Owens’ Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers. Basically he applies it with addictions. He wrote in the 1700’s.

Two recent books written by psychologists/counselors also with theology degrees are How People Change by Timothy S. Lane and Paul D. Tripp, which is the modern-day version of Jonathan Edwards’ Religious Affections — learning how to get over the gospel of works and accept grace. And deals with how people handle when tough things happen in life and what they turn to in order to cope. The other book that is really good is When People are Big and God is Small by Edward T. Welch, which is all about people-pleasing and co-dependency.

The theme in all these books is exactly what you said in your email — not some program or steps to make yourself better in the world’s eyes, but understanding what God thinks of these things and how through Him we can be free.

© 2009 Probe Ministries

Sue Bohlin

Sue Bohlin is an associate speaker/writer and webmistress for Probe Ministries. She attended the University of Illinois, and has been a Bible teacher and conference speaker for over 40 years. She is a frequent speaker for MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) and Stonecroft Ministries (Christian Women's Connections), and serves on the board of Living Hope Ministries, a Christ-centered outreach to those dealing with unwanted homosexuality. Sue is on the Bible.org Women's Leadership Team and is a regular contributor to Bible.org's Engage Blog. In addition to being a professional calligrapher, she is the wife of Probe's Dr. Ray Bohlin and the mother of their two grown sons. Her personal website is suebohlin.com.

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