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When the Helper Needs Help

"And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner.'"1

King Duncan tells about the story of a manager of a ten-story office building who was informed that a man was trapped in an elevator between the second and third floors. The manager rushed to the grill work under the stalled car and called to the passenger, "Keep cool, sir; we'll have you out soon. I've phoned for the elevator mechanic."

There was a brief pause and a tense voice replied, "I am the elevator mechanic."2

Many of us, even when we are trapped, find it very difficult to say, "I have a problem. I need help." As a result, we pay a high price for our stubborn independence.

When it comes to our spiritual wellbeing and life beyond the grave, many, if not most, people figure that if they have done enough good things to outweigh the bad things they have done, that this will qualify them for entering God's heaven. In other words we want to save ourselves, which is akin to a drowning man trying to save himself by picking himself up out of the water.

Vance Havner used to say how the world's a goner. It's a sinking ship. God's goal isn't to save the world but to save lost sinners from the sinking ship that is drowning in an ocean of sin and degradation. Only the ones who admit that they are a lost sinner and cry for God to save them can be saved for all eternity.

We simply cannot save ourselves. That's why Jesus came to die on the cross in our place—to pay the penalty for all our sins so we could be freely forgiven and given God's gift of eternal life. The prayer God loves to hear is, "God be merciful to me a sinner!"

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, I acknowledge that I am a sinner and cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that he died on the cross for my sins. Have mercy on me and save me. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

For further help be sure to read "How to Be Sure You're a Real Christian" at:

1. Luke 18:13 (NKJV).
2. King Duncan


All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.