T.P.M. is not the “Troubled People’s Ministry” Part Two
What is of God and what is of me
- The fruit of the Spirit is God’s fruit and not our own. We can “bear fruit” but we cannot do the fruit.
- Our best performance is not transformation or the fruit of the Spirit, therefore, it is relegated to nothing more than the “deeds of the flesh” (Gal. 5:19-21), that which is self-accomplished.
- Much of what believers describe as their spiritual behavior is nothing more than unbelievers could also do, if they just set their mind to doing it.
- There is a predictable process we each typically follow; we believe something, we feel something and then we do something.
- TPM is not “the only way” but “a way” to cooperate with what God is doing in refining our faith and renewing our minds.
- There is no “them and us” in the Body of Christ. We are all growing into the fullness of God as we submit to Him, who is at work in each of us refining our faith, renewing our minds and transforming us into the “… likeness of His son”. (Rom. 8:29)
Take a moment to consider what, in your Christian life, can only be explained by the work of God. What portion of your walk is truly an expression of faith and Christ living His life in and through you? Since performance is not fruit and true spiritual fruit is Christ living His life in and through us, how can we explain our efforts in trying to look like Jesus? The Bible only provides two categories — the “… fruit of the Spirit” and the “deeds of the flesh…” The fruit of the Spirit is God’s fruit and not our own. We can “bear fruit” but we cannot do the fruit. Our best performance is therefore relegated to nothing more than the “deeds of the flesh” (Gal. 5:19-21), that which is self-accomplished. Much of what believers describe as their spiritual behavior is nothing more than unbelievers could also do, if they just set their mind to doing it. Transformation, however — the fruit of the Holy Spirit, is totally a work of God.
Without question, the “deeds” listed in Galatians are the more demonstrative behaviors such as, “… immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these…” However, look back through this list and see how much of these behaviors are either an avoidance of painful emotion (self-medication) or an expression of the pain.
There is a predictable process we each typically follow; we feel something and then we do something. I feel anxious, fearful, worried, stressed, etc. and so I attempt to distract myself of these feelings by pleasuring my flesh through “…immorality, impurity, sensuality, … drunkenness, carousing…” I feel hurt, betrayed, abandoned, angry, resentful, etc. so I express this pain through behaviors such as“… enmity, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, envying, …” See how it works. It may come as a surprise to some of us to realize that much of the “good works” we do are a vain attempt in managing our pain. Some of the “good” things we do are an attempt to compensate for our not feeling loved, appreciated, included, or an avoidance of being rejected, left out, not affirmed, loved, etc. Not all the “good works” are fruit, much are merely deeds.
Every member of the Body of Christ needs mind-renewal and transformation.
The Apostle Paul said it clearly, “… Be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” (Rom. 12:2) This renewal goes far beyond obtaining biblical knowledge (again, a task that any unbeliever can achieve if they choose to); it is a work of the Holy Spirit that only He can accomplish by replacing the lies we believe with His perspective. When this occurs, transformation always follows. The evidence of this transformation is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. It is God who produces this fruit, which cannot be achieved by performance or self-effort. It is the expected outcome of a renewed mind.
TPM is a means for cooperating with God as He brings about this transformation — not “the only way” but “a way” to cooperate with what God is doing in refining our faith and renewing our minds. So then, whether a person embraces TPM or not, if they are in the faith, then the fruit should be evident in their life. Whatever means we use should produce the fruit of the Spirit. Performance cannot bring this about.
TPM has a Clear and Stated Purpose
- TPM was never designed to be a “pain management” tool. Emotional pain was never viewed as the problem to be fixed, but rather as a necessary part of the ministry process. Emotional pain is the vehicle that helps us identify the true problem, our beliefs.
- TPM is a way in which all believers can intentionally and purposefully cooperate with what God is doing in refining their faith, renewing their minds and transforming their lives.
- Attempting to conform our behavior to look like Jesus is not spiritual and contradicts the transformation that only God can accomplish.
TPM is a way in which all believers can intentionally and purposefully cooperate with what God is doing in refining their faith, renewing their minds and transforming their lives. “…For it is God who is at work in you…” and “…He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 2:13, 1:6) TPM is about joining in the work that God is doing.
Transformation has nothing to do with our own personal accomplishments in “spiritual” behavior. We are not called to try to perform the fruit of the Spirit. Merely acting loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, etc. is not the fruit; it is only performance. The fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) is not a to-do list that we are to perform, but the manifestation of the Holy Spirit in and through our lives. Acting like Jesus is not spiritual and in fact contradicts transformation which is a work of God. God desires that we become “… conformed to the image of His Son…” (Rom. 8:29), but this conformity is not accomplished by us, but by Him and through Him.