How Can I Choose a Self-Help Program for Overcoming Deeply Ingrained Habits or Sins?

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How Can I Choose a Self-Help Program for Overcoming Deeply Ingrained Habits or Sins?

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There's considerable variety in the self-help programs on the market today, ranging from tools that can provide genuine help to fraudulent moneymaking schemes. Overall, we encourage people to be circumspect and cautious about self-help programs.

Some of them employ a type of meditation that stems from Eastern religions and philosophies. The Christian should be on guard against such techniques because they cross the line into unacceptable practices (Exodus 20:3).

As you may know, there is a type of meditation encouraged in the Bible. The Bible speaks of meditation that involves focusing one's thoughts on a specific spiritual truth or an aspect of Christian living. Such concentrated thinking can be a tool of worship, as well as an aid to overcoming. Biblical meditation does not include chanting a mantra, another common characteristic of what many call "meditation" today. Repeating a phrase isn't going to bring about lasting change in a person's character.

Another shortcoming of some programs is the claim that a person can "train his subconscious" with audiotaped messages during sleep and thereby alter behavior without direct effort or struggle. That's contrary to what the Bible teaches us about Christian growth and overcoming, which we do at the conscious level.

Use the Bible to judge the validity of the programs you are considering. It will keep you grounded (Colossians 2:8-10; Proverbs 9:10).

Christian growth and overcoming involve building and maintaining a relationship with God through a study of His Word and regular prayer. With the help of the Spirit of God in us, we learn to recognize the pulls of human nature and to counteract them with conscious thought and effort. Our booklet on conversion, Transforming Your Life: The Process of Conversion, brings together and explains the scriptures that teach about overcoming.