L.M. Helm

Last month I shared with you my conclusion that I can in fact grow, which is important because my word for the year is ‘grow.’

But how? How do I grow?

Frankly, I don’t know. Well, I have some suspicions, but nothing definite. Here’s what I’ve figured out so far:

1: How to kill sin

John Piper preached an awesome 3-sermon series on how to kill sin that changed my life. His argument is that Christians kill sin by fixing a specific promise of God in their mind and then acting as if that promise were true, which it is because it’s God’s promise.

There’s a lot more to it than that, so go listen to the sermons right now!

2: It’s not only what we do, it’s how we do it

“…there are principles that govern human effectiveness–natural laws in the human dimension that are just as real, just as unchanging and unarguably “there” as laws such as gravity are in the physical dimension.” -Stephen R. Covey, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

This is a pretty good definition of what I’ve learned is called Common Grace. Common Grace means God made everything with a certain functional design in mind. 

He made the earth to orbit the sun, not the moon. If the earth tried to orbit the moon things would go… poorly. 

Humans are the same. 

God made us so that life works best when we tell the truth. If we don’t tell the truth, things go… poorly. 

God also made us to sleep, and He made us to need good food, and He made us to work and- what’s all this mean?

It means that books like 7 Habits, Atomic Habits, GRIT, and Getting Things Done, books written by men and women who don’t follow Jesus, can help me grow because they are describing Common Grace principles–they are describing the way God made me and everything around me even if they don’t believe it was God who made it that way.

A scientist doesn’t have to believe in God to discover how God made something.

And so a ‘self-help guru’ doesn’t have to believe in God to discover how God made us.


Because I’m a Christian, I need to be growing through Christ. This means filtering the principles in these Common Grace books through my faith. So when James Clear talks about how true behavior is identity change, I’m hearing “my identity is in Christ.” When Stephen Covey talks about visualizing a different way of behaving, I’m thinking about praying and describing in detail a situation I’m fretting about to God. When Angela Duckworth talks about the necessity of connecting our work to the good of others, I’m thinking of Christ who went to the cross for us.

So it’s not only what we do, it’s how we do it.