We went out to dine at an “eat as much as you like” buffet, where all kinds of delicious foods were waiting to be eaten. Near us was an entire rugby team that took the “help yourself” sign to the extreme. I wondered if they would ever run out of food, but much to my delight and everyone else’s, the food just kept coming.

Why is it that we seem to do splendidly when it comes to helping ourselves to food but seem to be seriously lacking when it comes to helping ourselves to change? We are like a caterpillar that never becomes a butterfly. We make all kinds of promises that we fail to deliver on. We promise our spouse, our children, our parents, our friends, our boss, even our animals, that we will do certain things, take them to certain places. “Please give me another chance,” we beg, “Things will be different this time.” It’s not as though we don’t mean it, but true to form, we go back to our old ways.

Maybe the problem is, as one motivational speaker said, “I can take an idiot and motivate him, and what have I got? A motivated idiot who after two weeks will be back to his old ways.” Although you might battle to find the motivation part, there is an element of truth to it. Sadly, we are like my dog “Rev”, no matter how many new balls we buy him, he always goes back searching for his old, smelly, dirty ball.

Why do we over-promise and under-deliver? Perhaps we are too quick to compromise on our integrity or reputation even though there’s a part of us that knows compromise never works.

One day a hunter came across a bear in the woods. The bear said to the hunter, “I want a full stomach.” The hunter responded, “I want a fur coat.”

“Let’s compromise,” suggested the bear – and promptly ate the man. As a result, they both got what they wanted. The bear went away with a full stomach, and the man went away wrapped in fur. The hunter learned the lesson of compromise.

Where does this leave us? I’m not 100% sure, but I do believe that it is possible for a leopard to change its spots if the leopard in question is human. But first, you have to want to help yourself.

HELP YOURSELF BY HELPING OTHERS There is always room at the top for anyone who is willing to say, “I’ll serve.”

Zig Ziglar said, “you’ll always have everything in life that you want if you’ll help enough other people get what they want.”

Before looking for a way to get, look for ways to give. Look for opportunities to invest in others and to help make them better. Somebody did that for you once. They saw something in you and reached out to help you. It may have been your pastor, your parents, a friend, teacher, coach, or someone who offered some extra money, prayers, or good advice. How about passing that on to others?

“Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.” Prov 3:27 (NIV)

HELP YOURSELF BY LETTING OTHERS HELP YOU

No man is supposed to go through life alone. Choose your friends wisely.

“If you want to grow in wisdom, spend time with the wise. Walk with the wicked and you’ll eventually become just like them.” Prov 13:20 (Passion Translation) Assign top priority to relationships that bring out the best in you; that help you want to be a better person; friends who cause you to have greater faith and confidence and will continuously encourage you to see things from God’s perspective.

HELP YOURSELF BY SAYING YES TO GOD’S POWER

It’s impossible to live the Christian life or become all we are meant to be, without the help of the Holy Spirit. You will end up tired, defeated, and miserable.

You received the wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit when you said yes to Jesus as the forgiver of your sin, but maybe never asked to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Allowing and asking the Holy Spirit to empower our lives brings us vision, power, purpose and is simply a wonderful way to live life.

“For God will never give you the spirit of fear, but the Holy Spirit who gives you mighty power, love, and self-control.” 2 Tim 1:7 (Passion Translation)

Without God, we are timid, like a reed tossed this way and that way, but with God’s power, all things are possible, even keeping our promises.

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