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

Conclusion

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.

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