437. GETTING THE RIGHT FOCUS TO OBTAIN WHOLENESS IN LIFE. [Based on 2 Corinthians chapters 3 and 4.] Core Teaching Stage 2 Topic 3

Humans need to get the right focus as they live in this world. Otherwise they miss out on the blessings the Creator God has in store for them.

  • Jesus warned that we must seek first His kingdom and our needs will then be supplied by Him. Luke 12:31 “Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.”
  • St Paul wrote that we must set our minds on things above,  Colossians 3:2  “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”

It is so easy to get a wrong focus in life so that we are concentrating on the wrong things. Let’s look then to see what should be our right focus in life. 


We may reflect on why we feel as we do, “In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent.” Psalm 4:4. It is good to search our hearts to examine our motives and desires. But prolonged introspection is unhealthy for we often fail to understand our thoughts or our actions and we can begin to obsess on the negatives in our lives. It is much better to invite the Knowing and Searching God to examine us and to show us how He sees us, Psalm 139:23-24. We need to focus on Him and not on ourselves. [More on Psalm 139 in blogs 139-146].

1.1.    Only God Knows What We Are Really Like Within. We Don’t Really Know Ourselves

God knows us better than we can ever know ourselves and better than anyone else could know us. He tells us in His word that He searches the hearts of humans, and that is why He knows everything about everyone.

  • (Psalm 7:9)  “Oh, let the evil of the wicked come to an end, and may you establish the righteous— you who test the minds and hearts, O righteous God!”

He tests every heart and mind. No one is excluded, not even those who don’t believe He exists!

  • (Psalm 139:1-6)  “O LORD, you have searched me and known me! 2  You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. 3  You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. 4  Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. There is nothing about us that God does not know. He knows our actions, our thoughts and even the unspoken words we are trying to formulate in our minds.
  • (1 Chronicles 28:9)  “… And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. ..” King David charged his son Solomon reminding him that God searches and understands every plan being thought of and every thought in the minds of people.
  • (Prov 20:27)  “The spirit of man is the lamp of the LORD, searching all his innermost parts.” Our inward spirit enables believers to examine our innermost being but as fallen creatures it cannot be relied upon as being infallible. It needs the light of Christ to lighten our inner spirit to get real understanding. As John wrote in his prologue in John 1:9  “The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.”
  • (Jeremiah 17:10) “I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”
  • (Romans 8:27 )”And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”
  • (Revelation 2:23.) ”I am the one who searches minds and hearts, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve.”
  • 1Corinthians 2:10  “these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.” God has revealed His mind and purpose to His people by His Spirit through His word and actions.

When God searches us He doesn’t get it wrong. He understands our thoughts, our motives and our plans in a way that no human ever could. 

1.2.    He Can Show Us What He Sees, If We Invite Him To Examine Us. 

David wanted to have a deeper walk with God. He invited God to show him the problem areas in his life.  

  • (Psalm 26:2)  “Test me, O LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind.” David used 3 expressions here denoting his desire for God to be  at work in his life. ”Test” is from [dokimázō; δοκιμάζω] which means a thorough search, seeking to prove and then approve after searching. “Try” is from [peirazō; πειράζω] which means to test or try out. “Examine” is from  [puroo; πυρόω] which can have the meaning of being purged by fire. David is wide open to allow God to search him so that he remains in the will of God.
  • (Psalm 139:23-4)  “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious  thoughts.” See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. “Search” is from the Hebrew [chaqar]. The root meaning is to penetrate; hence to examine very closely. He gets it right when He examines us! In the Greek Old Testament, the Septuagint [LXX] the word is  [dokimázō; δοκιμάζω] which we saw above means a thorough search, seeking to prove, and then approve after searching. King David was praying that God would search him thoroughly and reveal to him what changes he would have to make to be  in the will of God for him.

2.        FOCUSSING ON THE LORD IS LIFE CHANGING FOR US. 2 Corinthians 3:16-18. 

2 Corinthians 3:16-18, “But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17  Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18  And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

Focussing on the Lord was life-changing for St Paul. It will be for us . As we focus on Him in adoration and praise and in contemplation of His Person and Work, God does something within us. He brings about an inner transformation and renewal.

2.1.    We behold His glory, and thus we reflect Him. 18  “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord.“ We begin to reflect that which we focus on. “Beholding” is from katoptrizo. [Katoptron is a mirror.]”  Behold and reflect are both correct translations of the verb. We behold the glory of the Lord and we reflect that glory in our own lives. [The picture here may be likened to a group of people sitting around a log fire in the evening.  As they keep on beholding the flames their faces reflect the light. When the fire dies down, so does the brightness of the reflection on their faces. Whenever a new log is added to the fire, the flames turn brighter and so does the reflection on the faces of those gazing at the fire. As we gaze at His glory, we are changed from one degree of glory to another. ]

We “behold” the glory of the Lord when we set our minds to consider Him, His character, His words and His deeds so that we come to a much deeper appreciation of Him. The more we do so, the more we begin to reflect or exhibit the truth we are focussing on, on Him.  That is why St Paul urged his readers in Philippi to keep on reflecting on the following things, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” [Think about] here is from [logizomai; λογίζομαι] and it can mean to reckon, to consider, to dwell on, to reason. It means making a concerted effort to keep on reflecting on these qualities so that one adopts them as one’s own.

To see ourselves as God sees us, as one with Christ, brings victory

Galatians 2:19  “For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. 20  “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”Paul’s victory in life came as he considered himself as having died with Christ and having come alive in Him. He saw that Christ was now living His life in and through hm as Paul lived by faith in Christ.

Romans 6:11, “Consider (reckon) yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Jesus Christ.” Paul was encouraging his readers to recognise that they had died with Christ in His death and come to new life by being raised with Him. So now they were to present all they were to God,  “Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.” Romans 6:13.

Romans 13:14,  “Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about (pronoia; πρόνοια)= forethought=  make provision) how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” Paul wrote in Galatians 3:27  “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” That meant that Christ had enveloped believers with His presence, but now they needed to deliberately clothe themselves with Him so that when people saw believers they could recognise Christ in them. 

It also meant that their minds should be focussed on Him and they should  not begin to think on how they could give in to the desires of their fallen nature [the flesh].

2.2.    We are being transformed.   

18  “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.”

A metamorphosis was taking place. The word for “transformed “is [metamorphoō; μεταμορφόω] meaning to change form or to be transfigured as Jesus was before the disciples on the mountain [Mathew 17:2 and Mark 9:2]. There was a change taking place in believers. They were changing, as Paul added, into the image of Christ,  becoming more like Him. “Image” is from [eikōn; εἰκών] which can be translated as “likeness.”]

Paul later in his letter commanded the believers in Rome to “be  transformed by the renewing of your mind. …”  Romans 12:2 rather than be conformed to this world. There was a part they could play in this transformation and that was by allowing their minds to be renewed by God rather than letting their thinking be conformed to the world. 

2.3.    Into His likeness. His likeness, once defaced,  but now being regained. 

The Bible describes the creation of humans in Genesis 1:27, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created  him.” However we read of the fall of humankind in Genesis 3 where the human race was destined to have that image of God defaced though not entirely obliterated.  

Paul wrote that those whom God foreknew would have faith in Jesus were “also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” Romans 8:29. God’s purpose for all His children is to transform them all into the likeness of Christ. 

Paul also wrote in Colossians 3:10  that believers “ have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”  They have a new self which is undergoing transformation by being renewed in knowledge. That renewal will lead to a greater conformity to the image of God. That which was lost at the Fall of humankind is being restored through the transforming work of God in Christian believers.

2.4.    From one degree of glory to another.  Sanctification. 

This transformation into the image of God is an on-going process in believers towards wholeness, by enabling them to submit to the will of God for them, “be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2. The renewed minds of believers enables them to recognise the will of God as they seek to find and obey it. They then learn to approve of God’s will and discover in practice that it truly is “good and acceptable and perfect.”

2.5.    This inner transformation comes from the Lord, the Spirit. 

This transformation into the image of God is not just an ideal that believers must aim at as a means of winning God’s favour. Rather it is the will of God for every believer to try to achieve. And they can only do so with His help, “For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” What then is our part as believers in our transformation into God’s image? We note the following.

  • We do the beholding at the Lord. That means getting our minds to focus on Him as we read His word, as we pray and praise and as we share in fellowship with other believers. He is to be the object of our adoration and praise.

As we do that, God is able to work through our openness by His Spirit, to do the transforming within us. He as the Holy Spirit can make us more holy, more set apart from the things of the world to be available to Him to do His will for us.

  • It is being open to the grace of God and receiving His grace in our lives. Paul wrote that we are saved by grace, Ephesians 2:8. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” Not only is salvation a gift to us by the grace of God, but His grace continues to be poured out on us as we seek to live for Him. Paul discovered that as he faced a difficult time in his life. He pleaded with God on 3 occasions for Him to remove a difficulty in his life. God’s answer was what gave him strength, “Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”In his weakness God gave him the strength he needed to cope.

2 Corinthians 12:8-10. Difficulties may not always be taken away but the Lord has promised that His grace will be sufficient to enable us to cope. Admitting one’s human weakness before God allows Him to grace us with His strength. 

Grace means God’s provision to enable us to live in this world as He wants us to. But it does mean cooperating with Him as He works inwardly in us. That is what St Paul wrote in Philippians 2:12-13, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13  for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” We note of course that we are to “work out” our salvation, not “work for” it. Salvation, we have seen is a gift of God’s grace. It is God who is working in us, and His work achieves two things in us. He gives us both the willingness and the ability to please Him. The desire to do God’s will and being given the ability to do so, speak of the amazing grace of God in our lives as He transforms us into His image and into the likeness of Christ.

A Principle:  We are to work OUT in our lives, what He is working IN us by His Spirit.  Philippians 2:12-13. 

Blog No.437 posted on Tuesday 18 October 2022

About Jim Holbeck

Once an Industrial Chemist working for the Queensland Government but later an Anglican minister in Brisbane, Armidale and Sydney. Last position for eighteen years before retirement in 2006 was as the Leader of the Healing Ministry at St Andrew's Cathedral Sydney.
This entry was posted in BIBLE PASSAGE OUTLINES, Bible verses. Comments, Creation, Evangelism, Faithfulness, Forgiveness, Glorification, Healing, Holy Spirit, Mental Health, New Covenant, Prayer, Salvation, Sanctification, spiritual warfare, Temptations and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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