We’ve all heard it: “God helps those who help themselves.” But before anyone goes out and steals a new car or robs a bank, we should point out that this little nugget of advice doesn’t appear in the Bible. And for good reason. God is actually all about helping the helpless. He “strengthens the weary and gives vitality to those worn down by age and care.” (Isaiah 40:29 VOICE) And regarding personal salvation we’re entirely dependent on the Lord to redeem us.
“For it’s by God’s grace that you have been saved. You receive it through faith. It was not our plan or our effort. It is God’s gift, pure and simple. You didn’t earn it … so don’t go around bragging that you must have done something amazing.” (Ephesians 2:9 VOICE)
God never said it; and it’s hard to know for sure just who did originate this old adage. We do know that Benjamin Franklin popularized the saying when he quoted it, in his Poor Richard’s Almanac, in 1757. Apparently God approved, however, because Franklin went outside in the middle of a violent electrical storm to — of all things — fly a kite. And the inventor didn’t get struck by lightning, not even once! (That’s just a joke, friends.) 😆
Seriously, though, there are many principles in the Bible that support Franklin’s oft-repeated motto: God rewards our faith and obedience; and thanks to the Law of Reciprocity (discussed earlier) acts of love, service, and giving always come back to us in the form of God’s favor and blessings. But what’s all this got to do with creators and dreamers?
It’s God who gives us the vision, along with the talents and abilities necessary to create and achieve our goals; so He definitely wants us to fulfill our dreams. But He also expects us to do our part. For instance, God is probably not going to make you the next winner of the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes if you don’t mail back the entry form! We state “probably” because God created the Heavens and the earth, so nothing is too difficult for Him! (Jeremiah 32:17) But don’t count on it, even if you do get one of those crazy letters proclaiming “You may already be a winner!”
If we want God to help us get published, we must first sit down and write a book. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt to mail the manuscript to a few dozen prospective publishers. Want to paint? Have you even purchased a brush and pigments yet?
If you want to do something fun and creative, if you want to realize your goals and see your dreams fulfilled — and you want God’s help — you need to do your part. Make a plan. Then execute the plan. Or, look at it this way: If we’re going to achieve our dreams, or be successful at anything, we gotta make the grade. And we should all hope to get a “D”!
Actually straight D’s is even better. D is for Dreams, and daring to dream BIG. But D stands for so much more.
- D is for Decision. Decide what you want out of life; decide what you want to accomplish in life; decide how you’ll achieve these things. Then make a decision to get started. You’ll never lose weight, look for a better job, sever a wrong relationship, put a stop to a destructive habit, or achieve any goal until you first purpose in your heart to do so. Doing the right thing starts with deciding what the right thing is! And you’ll never follow through on anything until you DECIDE it’s something YOU really want to do. Start deciding. Decisions are all about choices. Making them and sticking by them.
- D is Discipline. You’ll need this if you’re serious about accomplishing anything in life. You can’t hold down a job, maintain a relationship, stay out of trouble, stay out of debt, stay healthy, stay focused, or stay on track until you get Disciplined. And just like the nutritional supplement Vitamin D, we need more of this “D”; never less.
We all want to achieve our dreams. We all want something. But the unpleasant truth about life is that everything comes with a price, every achievement involves W.O.R.K! The work is always hard. Sometimes the work is no fun. But discipline is about getting the work done, even when your heart’s not in it; even when you’re tired; even when adversity strikes; even if people criticize you. Muhammad Ali always wanted to box. But staying in the training ring took discipline: “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.'”
The next “D” works synergistically with Decision and Discipline. But, as with taking big vitamin tablets, it can be the hardest pill to swallow. There are tens of thousands of people who make a decision (and a plan), and who even have discipline — but you’ll never hear about these people. You’ll never know their names. They’re dreamers just like you. But sadly, they never go beyond the dream stage. They never move forward to the next “D”.
- D is for DOING! After all, nothing ever gets started until someone makes a start.
Be a “healthy” dreamer. Take your dietary supplements, especially vitamin D. But make the other D’s an important part of your life. DECIDE what you want to achieve, DISCIPLINE yourself to reach your goal, and then JUST DO IT! Because God wants us to put our good intentions (and plans) into action.
That’s why the “Disciple who loved Jesus” offers this case in point: “…Let us not love [merely] in theory or in speech but in deed and in truth (in practice and in sincerity).” (1 John 3:18 AMPC) Got it? Then get going! Let’s do this!