The “self-help” book is defined as a book that often focuses on popular psychology such as romantic relationships, or aspects of the mind and human behavior, which you can control with effort. Self-help books typically advertise themselves as being able to increase self-awareness and performance, including satisfaction with one’s life. They often say that they can help you achieve this more quickly than conventional theories.
In a sense, consumerism has made the popularity of self-help books possible. The nature of consumerism is partly individual gratification. This individual gratification transfers as a book menu. You can name any hobby or goal you want apart of your lifestyle and you can buy that in a book. Should we be surprised when Christians get on the same bandwagon?
It only takes a few minutes to walk through the personal growth aisle at a local Christian bookstore to see that this self-focused advice genre has just been baptized and shelved for the Christian consumer:
Every Day a Friday: How to be happy 7 Days a Week
God is a Matchmaker: Seven Principles in Finding Your Mate
Attitu-inize: 10 Secrets to a Positive You
Even authors that share Scripture and some true principles can get mixed up in this self- help or self-esteem theology…. With statements like “Jesus thinks it will be heaven because you are there”or “sometimes our answers may be wrong, but our hearts are right.”
These statements hint at a misunderstanding of the gospel. If we believe that we deserve or are entitled to good things ,what does that say about the state of humanity? Our opinion on the state of humanity should be like the cry of Isaiah “ Woe is me! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips” This is what makes the love of God so astounding..because though we are only entitled to God’s wrath, we are objects of His grace. Are we settling for a diluted gospel to motivate a superficial change in our lives?
What do you think about these self-help books? Do you think they misrepresent the gospel?