“Focusing on yourself doesn’t revolutionize any area of your life. Transformation only happens through the knowledge of God. That’s right—the key to transformation is not trying to improve yourself, but rather to know God. While I agree there is always room for personal development and that as people apply themselves in any area, they will experience growth, God’s grace enables us beyond any of our human capacities. It is through humbly seeking to know God more that His grace is multiplied in our lives (2 Pet. 1:2). It’s not about bettering ourselves; rather, it’s about coming to know Him more.
Let me illustrate. When my children were younger, I lacked the patience to calmly deal with them. Toddlers have a way of mustering up unforeseen frustrations, and as a young father I was ill equipped to handle the challenges. I acted in ways that were coarse and insensitive to my wife and children. Though I had listened to many teachings on parenting, I lacked the critical component of patience that is so essential to child rearing.
One day as I was studying 1 Corinthians 13—the love chapter— patience, the first facet of love, stuck out to me. I began to picture all the times the Lord had been patient with me. I began to see Him as the patient Father, bearing with me through every one of my weaknesses, fears, and sins. As I remembered how He patiently ministered to me in my immaturity, my heart broke. Not only was I moved at the recognition of God’s tender patience in His dealings with me, but I was also filled with vision to be a more patient father toward my children. What’s more, grace for patience began to fill my soul through the knowledge of God. That day began a transformation in me that has enabled me to be patient through trying moments with my children in ways I never could have before. I still have plenty of room to grow, but the glimpse of God’s patience that day changed me. It was through focusing on God—not myself—that I was transformed. God is not looking to make a better you. He’s looking to transform you by conforming you to the image of His Son. Transformation, then, is not found through focusing on yourself; it’s found through knowing Jesus. Paul said it this way: “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:18). The more we behold Jesus, the more we become like Him.
To sum up, your betterment will not primarily come through hard work or training. It will come through a journey into an experiential knowledge of God. This journey will see you conformed to the image of God’s Son because as we grow in the knowledge of God, we become partakers of the divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4). What an incredible promise! As we gaze on our glorious God we are actually transformed into His image.” Billy Humphrey, To Know Him(Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2013), Used by permission.
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