13 Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; 15 and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him (James 5).
Host of The Tonight Show Jay Leno offered a “Jaywalking” portion to his show where he would go out on the street and ask questions to random people. On one occasion he asked them to name one of the Ten Commandments. Several times people answered: “God helps those who help themselves.”
Does God indeed help those who help themselves? Well, I would say, yes and no—it depends on what it is you’re helping out with. You see, if you’re trying to help out with your salvation, then you do not understand the Gospel at all. For the message of the gospel is that we are dead in our trespasses and sins and therefore can no more raise ourselves up out of spiritual death than a lifeless body can raise itself up out of the grave. Thus, the very essence of the Gospel is that God indeed helps those who cannot help themselves. There is absolutely nothing we can do to earn salvation in any way.
Yet, when it comes to everyday living, I believe God does indeed help those who help themselves. He relieves those of “suffering” when they “pray,” and He “restores” those who are “sick” when they “call the elders of the church and they … pray over him.” When we do our part, God does His.
Lord, Help us This Day to do our part. Amen.