Photo and Commentary ©2022 by Maylan Schurch
Friday, September 16, 2022

Books are quickly disappearing from the shelves of one of Shelley’s and my favorite bookstores. It’s not because the store is closing—it’s simply moving to a new location in the same city.

What’s kind of sad, though, is that the new location is smaller than this one, so the number of books will diminish as well. And not only because of lack of space; books that don’t haven’t sold well here won’t be as numerous there.

This past Sunday I thought of this as I paused to snap this photo. I hasten to say that I don’t think “Self-Transformation” is a category that is suffering. Do you see the sign down at the opposite end of this batch of shelves? Though you can’t read it, it says “Self-Transformation” too, which means that all the empty shelves you see were filled with books on this topic. And they’ll probably show up in equal numbers in the new store, because people hunger for the ability to change themselves into something better.

Jesus gives us a sobering reality check. If the kind of change you’re hoping for is moral development (the most important kind), you can’t find it in a book of human self-help philosophy. The Savior says flatly, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.” (John 8:34 NKJV) But two verses later He gives this encouragement: “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” (Verse 36)

How does this work? Here’s a link containing Bible texts which provide the answer: