Why I stopped reading personal development books

reading personal development books

I used to be a self-help junkie. At any given time, you would find a stack of personal development books on my shelf. I joked that I was slowly making my way through the entire self-help section of the library, because I was.

My quest to become a better human being drove me to consume any piece of personal development I could find — including podcasts, seminars, articles, and most of all books.

I was literally addicted to becoming a better me.

These days?

I look to the Bible for answers, and my mission is to become a better servant of God.

Why the personal development industry can be harmful

The personal development industry was there for me when I needed it. Rather, I needed God, but I turned to it instead and made it an idol.

I sought wisdom from secular people and believed they had the answers. But the Bible says not to seek counsel from the ungodly (Psalm 1:1).

Even some of the more well known Christian authors in the self-help industry such as Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer teach the prosperity gospel which is a distortion of scripture. There are many scriptures which warn against false teachers.

The biggest flaw with the personal development industry is that it’s focus is on the self — improving ourselves. It’s about building us up and empowering us to take on the world ourselves, which is something we were never meant to do. We are to lean on God and rely on His strength (Philippians 4:13).

Don’t get me wrong–we should always be striving for improvement. But we should do it God’s way, and for His glory.

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Colossians 3:17

The personal development industry is centered around the self

When we focus on ourselves, we can make ourselves an idol. Our sinful nature is always trying to look out for #1, and the personal development industry can feed our egos.

When we strive for perfection, it causes us to stumble. We are imperfect human beings who need only seek approval from God.

Satan tells all of us the lie that we are not worthy. But our worthiness should be found in God. When we seek to achieve and advance in life, we are usually trying to win the approval of men and make ourselves look good.

But God’s word says:

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.

Philippians 2:3

The Bible is the best personal development book there is

If your goal is to better yourself, you need look no further than the Bible. It is packed with instruction on how we are to live and love like Christ. As Believers we have been equipped with the Holy Spirit. And as such our lives should overflow with the fruit of the spirit.

The Bible is the best personal development book there is.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 1:5-8


There is nothing wrong with wanting to better ourselves, IF we are seeking the approval of God and not men.

The Lord looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7), and our goal should be to glorify Him always.

God is not impressed with awards or how much money we have in the bank, but how we live and love others.

I encourage you to choose to pick up God’s Word to guide you instead of secular personal development books.


7 Biblical ways to mature in the Lord

There are many Biblical ways we as followers of Jesus can mature in the Lord and begin to live our lives as a fragrant offering.

We are called to do so much more than just attend church and pray when we remember.

We are are called to live a humble life in service to God, seeking and yielding to His will for our lives.

We are are called to live a humble life in service to God, seeking and yielding to His will for our lives.

Here are 7 Biblical ways to mature in the Lord (and to go from lukewarm to on fire for God):

1. Seek God’s will first and above all else

As we grow and mature in our walk with Christ, our lives automatically become less about what we want to do and more about what He wants us to do.

Seeking His will can look like reading our Bible to better understand the mind of God, asking for wisdom in prayer, and seeking Godly counsel (Psalm 1:1-2).

It can often mean saying no to the things our flesh wants to do, and saying yes to the things God is calling us to do.

It’s learning to put our ego to the side, and to hold up our hands and humbly ask for God’s direction and favor in our lives.

It’s also taking the time to pause and ask ourselves “What would Jesus do?” (WWJD?) before making decisions big and small.

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

– Matthew 6:33 (ESV)

2. Read God’s word daily

The Bible is the only instruction manual God gave us.

In order to make God the number one priority in our lives, we must read His word daily.

Doing so allows us to better know and draw closer to Him, embed His word deeper into our hearts and minds, and obey to Him.

I can honestly say that reading the Bible daily has helped me the most in growing in spiritual maturity with the Lord.

After all, if we don’t know what His word says, how can we possibly begin to follow it?

“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

– Colossians 3:16 (NASB)

3. Nix worry and devote ourselves to prayer instead

There’s a saying that goes, “Worry is praying for things you don’t want.”

I feel like, as women, we are more prone to worry. But God calls us to have complete faith in Him, and fear is not of God.

Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” 

Although He already knows our innermost thoughts and feelings, it’s our job to communicate them. We are to ask for our needs to be met, strength to overcome temptations, and faith to get us through the hills and valleys of life.

So whenever we find ourselves starting to worry, we are to shift to prayer instead!

And when we start to feel like we can’t possibly ask God for the same thing AGAIN, do it anyway!

Being in constant communication with Him is a great way to mature in the Lord.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” 

– Phillippians 4:6 (NIV)

4. Engage in fellowship with other believers

Psychologists believe that we are the sum of the five people we spend the most time with.

Regular fellowship with likeminded Christians can have a large impact on our lives as we learn from each others experiences and grow in faith together.

Look for ways to engage in fellowship throughout the week whether it be at Church, Bible study, small groups, over coffee, or in Christian Facebook groups.

Satan loves to keep us feeling isolated and alone. So surrounding ourselves with a strong group of likeminded Christians is a great way to combat the enemy.

“What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.”

– 1 Corinthians 14:26 (NIV)

5. Worship and praise like it’s your job

We were created to humbly worship the Lord and bow to Him in reverence and awe.

He deserves all of our praise! So we shouldn’t limit ourselves to the worship service at church. We can praise him during quiet time and all throughout the day. I like to crank up worship music while I clean and dance in my living room like no one but my King is watching!

Tithes and offerings are also a form of worship and obedience. We are to give back to the one who provides all for us!

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!

– Psalm 95:1 (ESV)

6. Practice submission and obedience

All too often, it’s easy to ignore His still small voice and choose to follow our selfish nature instead.

In Luke 6:46, Jesus said, “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Cue dagger to the heart.)

We are not called to be lukewarm Christians who only obey when we feel like it. Being obedient and submitting to His will is everything because He knows what’s best.

For example, I recently felt like He was prompting me to get up out of my seat and go welcome a newcomer at church.

I never would have felt comfortable doing something like this before but I recognized that it’s simply not about my comfort anymore.

I hesitated for a few minutes but ultimately decided to listen and I’m so glad I did because I made a new friend in the process.

When we are obedient with the little things, God calls us to bigger things.

During that same church service where I introduced myself to the newcomer, He confirmed what I’d suspected for months, which was that I was supposed to start this blog.

And as you can see, I was obedient!

Is He calling you to start volunteering or to be more submissive to your husband? Or maybe He wants you to start a ministry or to be a more submissive employee? Whatever He’s prompting you to do, listen!

But if one loves God truly [with affectionate reverence, prompt obedience, and grateful recognition of His blessing], he is known by God [recognized as worthy of His intimacy and love, and he is owned by Him].

– 1 Corinthians 8:3 (AMPC)

7. Embody the fruit of the spirit

Anyone can talk the talk, but to walk the walk we must embody the fruit of the spirit.

Pray that the Holy Spirit convicts you in your heart so that you can make positive changes, because God examines the heart.

We all have areas to work on, whether that’s being more loving, biting our tongue, exercising self-control instead of indulging in that unhealthy habit, etc.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

– Galations 5:22-23 (NIV)


Our whole perspective shifts when we begin to look at our limited time on earth as an opportunity to become more like Him and to give our life in offering.

We begin to see that OUR purpose is to fulfill HIS purpose, whatever that may look like!

OUR purpose is to fulfill HIS purpose!

My prayer for you, dear reader, is that you continue to mature in the Lord and seek His face always.

Which of these 7 Biblical ways to mature in the Lord do you feel the most convicted? I’d love to hear in the comments!