How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings. (Ps. 36:7)

“GOD HELPS THOSE who help themselves” is a popular motto emphasizing self-reliance. Although the phrase didn’t originate in Scripture, 75 percent of American teenagers surveyed said they believe it is the central message of the Bible.

If we could help ourselves, we wouldn’t need God’s grace. It’s because we can’t help ourselves that He sent Jesus to die for us and rescue us from sin’s grip. That is the central message of the Bible. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Eph. 2:8–9). In Psalm 36, David contrasted the actions of the wicked with those of the righteous. The wicked are proud and have no regard for God, while God’s faithful are humble and run to Him for refuge.

God longs for us to come to Him. In Matthew 23:37, Jesus lamented, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.” It is primarily pride that keeps us from seeking God’s help. As long as we struggle to do it ourselves, we’ll never experience the peace that comes with relying upon His Holy Spirit within us.

Examine yourself to see if your pride is keeping God at a distance.

Nancy Reinke lives in the Colorado Rockies with her artist husband. She enjoys writing, photography, hiking, gardening, grandmothering, and encouraging others.