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Why Do People Say God Helps Those Who Help Themselves?

Why do people say God helps those who help themselves, questions
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Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise.
Which, having no guide, overseer, or ruler,
Provides her bread in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest.

Proverbs 6:6-8

Wisdom from Ants

How do ants do this? How do they cooperate to achieve what’s best for the entire nest? The only reasonable explanation is that God gives them the wisdom they need to thrive.

Not Universally True

But this saying that God helps those who help themselves isn’t true in all circumstances. There’s a special place in God’s heart for the helpless, like the widows and orphans, the disabled, really anyone needy. He also delights in the humble. We’ll get to that later.

We’re Expected to Work

God tells us to consider the ant. The ant works to protect the nest by building an anthill to protect the underground nest. They’re constantly bringing food for their collective and can reportedly carry ten to fifty times their weight! God didn’t create them to sit around all day and wait for Him to provide for them. And God expects able-bodied people to work for their food:

“For we hear that there are some among you who live in idleness, mere busybodies, not working at all. Now, concerning those who are such, we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ that they quietly work and eat their own bread (2 Thessalonians 3:11-12).”

Work or Go Hungry

“We commanded you that if any will not work, neither shall he eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10).”

We’re under no command to provide food for someone who could and should work but won’t.

How long will you sleep, O sluggard? When will you arise out of your sleep?  Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep— so will your poverty come upon you like a stalker, and your need as an armed man.

Proverbs 6:9-11


To him who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness.

Romans 4:5

We don’t Work for Our Primary Spiritual Need

So, we’ve seen that we work to meet our earthly needs. But what about our primary spiritual need? How do we go to heaven? This verse in Romans clarifies that our works won’t get us there. Jesus did the work, and we can’t add to it:

Christ Obtained Eternal Redemption

“But Christ…by His own blood (by dying for us), He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:11-12).”

We Needed a Savior

We couldn’t do the work of salvation; we needed a Savior. We can’t even help Jesus do the work of redemption; we’re asked to believe—only.

We Believe and Don’t Work

“Then they asked Him, “What shall we do that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent (John 6:28-29).”

We Work to Meet Our Earthly Needs

Though ultimately, God provides all our earthly needs. If we’re capable, we’re responsible for working to earn our living. In that way, we help ourselves. We don’t work to get to heaven; we believe in Jesus, who has obtained eternal salvation for us. Ask us more questions.

Thank you for reading this article. If you want to learn more about having a relationship with God through His Son Jesus, we invite you to watch the “Great News for You” video on this page. Your life can be be made new today. And please connect with us if you need help with your life. God loves you and we care.

We invite you to watch the “Great News” video on this page and find out more about God’s love for you and how you can receive forgiveness and eternal life – today!

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The Prayer of Salvation

Jesus, I don't know You, and I don't know what Your plan is for me. But thank you for coming to die in my place. I'm sorry for anything I've ever done wrong in my life. I don't understand how You could ever forgive me, but if You really would, I would like to accept your free gift of grace and complete forgiveness. Please come into my life and take control, and help me trust You. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

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