TPM As Pain Management
- The true purpose of TPM is faith refinement and mind renewal that results in an eternal transformation of belief and behavior, which is God’s intention for every member of the Body of Christ.
- When TPM is viewed as pain management, it will inadvertently be understood to be a doctor/patient ministry model, creating dependents, and relegating those seeking prayer as victims needing to be rescued.
- Unless people understand the higher reason for applying TPM, it will not be utilized unless their emotional pain is greater than they can endure, manage, or suppress by some other means.
- The intent of TPM Process is not pain resolution, but exposing the lies and exchanging them for His truth.
- The fruit of the Spirit is not something that we do, but what we bear.
- When we know truth, we can walk effortlessly in it and His peace will follow.
- Trying to conform ourselves to the truth is laborious and taxing, where as, God’s plan is to transform us by it.
- As we embrace what we feel as a benefit, allowing it to point us in the direction of truth and freedom, in doing so, we can cooperate with God, as opposed to fighting the very process He has designed to transform us.
Some churches using TPM mistakenly present the ministry as a “recovery” program focused on people with particular habits, hurts, and hangups or for those suffering from differing measures of emotional pain. By doing so they overlook the 98% of people in the church who would not consider themselves to be in any of these groups and, therefore, would see no need for TPM. The true purpose of TPM is faith refinement and the mind renewal that results in eternal transformation which is God’s intention for every member of the Body of Christ.
When TPM is viewed as pain management, it will inadvertently be understood to be a doctor/patient ministry model, creating dependents, and relegating those seeking prayer as victims needing to be rescued. This mindset creates the need to train ministry facilitators to help those in need of ministry. It can be compared to going to the doctor when we feel bad and assuming something is wrong. We passively look to the “TPM doctor” as the expert and are simply the recipient of his knowledge. He is the “healer” and we are the ones receiving healing. This is not how TPM should be understood.
Without question, there is a need for ministry facilitators to pray with people seeking ministry. Nevertheless, when TPM becomes a ministry confined to the emotionally troubled, as opposed to being a tool by which all believers can participate with God in His faith-refining work, then many members lose out.
Very few within the church will openly admit to being in need of such a “doctor,” so TPM is not something they would consider. Unless people understand the higher reason for applying TPM, it will not be utilized unless their emotional pain is greater than they can endure, manage, or suppress by some other means.
Me and My Pain
This could be compared with my visiting the dentist. If my tooth hurts, I will do everything I can to resolve the pain myself (other than pulling it myself) before calling the dentist’s office. I simply do not want to go to the dentist. However, at some point the pain of the tooth becomes greater than can be managed by my own solutions and I make the appointment.
When pain resolution is our focus, we will be tempted to take a host of other available options long before we look to TPM. We are more likely to go to our default pain-reducing behaviors first. If we understand the greater purpose of TPM, we will be able to cooperate with what God is doing and receive even more benefit. The intent of the TPM Process is not pain resolution, but exposing the lies and exchanging them for His truth. God desires to bring mind renewal to all members of His Church and TPM is one means by which every member can actively participate in what God is doing.
We have each come up with all manner of ways to try to manage the lie-based pain in our lives. Some of the more common methods include denial, suppression, “putting the past behind us,” not acknowledging what we feel, self-medication (like eating when we are not hungry), drinking, sex, entertainment, and even spiritual performance. In the context of a TPM session we call these sort of behaviors “Solutions.”
Spiritual Performance and Doing the Fruit
Spiritual performance includes, but is not limited to, all the things we do to give the appearance that all is well, when in fact it is not. It is trying to “do” the fruit of the Holy Spirit as if the fruit was a “to-do” list to accomplish. Trying to be loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful or self-controlled is not true spirituality. The fruit of the Spirit is not a work we can do, but it is a work of God. The fruit is not something that we do, but what we bear. Good works or our spiritual behavior is an outcome of possessing the fruit. Because I am loving, peaceful, joyous, patient, kind, good, gentle faithful, and self-controlled, I behave accordingly. The fruit is not what I am doing, but what I am bearing.
One form of spiritual performance is doing good things in order to suppress our lie-based pain. For example, if we believe that we are worthless, we will feel worthless, and we may volunteer for some form of religious service to make ourselves feel better. If we feel dirty and shameful for some sin we may have committed, we might serve in some ministry related to those who have made the same mistakes. We might feel abandoned and rejected and join a support group so that we can feel a part of something. All of these things help suppress what we feel, but none of them address the root cause and are a futile attempt to “solve” our perceived problem. But if pain resolution is the goal, these things become a reasonable alternative.
The Apostle Paul referred to performance in righteousness as “rubbish,” because such behavior can never achieve what only “Christ in us” can accomplish. TPM seeks to connect people with the only real source of power there is for lasting victory: the person of Christ. So whether we use TPM or some other approach to get there, it is all about Jesus completing what He began in us. There are many good methods and approaches for attaining freedom, but the one who releases us is the same—Jesus.
We all desire to know true peace and freedom from the troublesome emotions that hinder us from living life to its fullest. Jesus has promised us life and peace. The Apostle Paul prayed, “May the Lord of peace Himself grant you peace in EVERY circumstance” (2 Thessalonians 3:16). “Every” is an all-encompassing word. It means that in every circumstance, we have the potential of experiencing the peace given by Christ. If we do not have peace in every circumstance, then we have a belief that is contrary to this peace. When I know truth, I will effortlessly walk in it and His peace will follow. Trying to conform ourselves to the truth is laborious and taxing, where as, God’s plan is to transform us by it.
So then, practicing TPM is willingly and intentionally participating in the work that God is doing in the midst of our pain. God uses this work to refine our faith, renew our minds, and transform our lives. When we understand what He is doing and join Him in this work, the pain becomes our friend, pointing us in the right direction. God did not create emotional pain so that we might overcome it or suppress it. It has a divine purpose. As we embrace what we feel as a benefit, allowing it to point us in the direction of truth and freedom, in doing so, we can cooperate with God, as opposed to fighting the very process He has designed to transform us.