Belief Series: (Part 14) – A Summary of All We Believe
How we Believe
We have seen that within the framework of TPM there are many different ways we believe things. The three major categories include: Experiential Belief, Intellectual Belief, and Heart Belief.
We have learned that:
Experiential belief is what I believe because I experienced it. It is the content of my memories. I believe I went to school in Granbury, Texas. I remember my teacher scolding me in front of the class because I did not know how to spell “cat.” This belief is fixed and static. Experiential belief does not produce any emotion since it is the raw data of my experience. Since experiential belief is basically our memory, it also includes what we remember about what we felt, our thinking and what we believed at the time of the event. However, what we remember feeling and believing in the memory is not the same as what we believe and feel presently. Our current lie-based heart belief (that is the source of what we feel) is not contained in our memory even though we may remember believing the same belief at the time of the life event. Remembering what we believed at the time of the life event and currently believing the lie are not the same thing.
Our experiential belief is also based upon what we believe to have happened as opposed to what actually happened. No one has an accurate recollection of what actually happens in any given moment. It is always what we believe to have happened based upon: our vantage point, our perception, our mental filters, what comes in through our natural senses, other beliefs we already hold, and interpretations we have made. This is why five people who witness the same crime often have five different opinions or explanations about what happened.
Intellectual belief is made up of the subsets of General Knowledge, Assumptions and Conclusions, and Solution Beliefs. All of this knowledge is available to me as needed, so that I may navigate throughout life.
- General Knowledge is made up of all of the “facts and figures” that I gained from my life experiences. For example, I learned the alphabet in my early classroom experience, and I can use this knowledge to write this article today.
- Assumptions and Conclusions explain why we think something happened in any particular life experience. For example: I may remember my teacher scolding me in front of the rest of the class (experiential belief); and then I might explain her behavior as being disdainful of me because I believe that she thought I was stupid (assumption/conclusion).
- Solution Beliefs support my remedy for a perceived problem that I am trying to solve. They support any behavior I engage in to protect myself, to keep me from feeling something, to keep me from remembering something, or to give me a reason for staying angry. For example:
“My father never took responsibility for the bad things that he did to me.” (experiential belief); Therefore,
“He needs to be held accountable for what he did or he will get by with it.” (the problem needing a solution); Therefore,
“My anger holds him accountable.” (solution belief); Therefore,
“I will stay angry.” (solution behavior).
- Heart belief is the interpretation of both our Experiential Belief (what we believed to have happened), plus our assumptions and conclusions (how we understand and explain what we believed to have happened). It is a statement about how we either view ourselves (Self-identity—our situation or condition), or how we view God (State-of-being). For example: “The teacher scolded me.” (what happened); “She disliked me and thought I was stupid.” (assumption and conclusion); “I am defective.” (Heart Belief).
Applying What We Believe
We will use all our beliefs—intellectual belief, experiential belief and heart belief—to help us navigate through the day. As each new situation arises, we will draw from any one or all of these.
For the most part, we walk through our day using intellectual belief to get from point “A” to point “B.” We know how to do most of what we do each day because of the intellectual belief we possess. Now and then we will draw from experiential belief (memory content) to make a decision or help us know which way to turn. We may think, “Because we have been in this situation before, we should choose to do this. ” If there is a need to interpret the moment, we will draw from our heart belief. Since heart belief is the seat of our emotions, it will also produce a feeling when it is accessed. When the heart belief we access is lie-based, it will feel “bad.” In TPM we call this being “triggered.” If the heart belief that we access reflects the truth, the “…peace of Christ will rule in [our] heart[s]…” (Col. 3:15).
What might this look like in our lives?
It is Sunday morning and I have entered the auditorium walking toward “my” seat —that is, the place where I sit every week. Suddenly I am taken aback by the fact that someone is sitting in MY spot. In this moment I may draw from all areas of belief to navigate this unexpected situation. If having my seat taken does not stir up any negative emotion, I will probably just look for a different place to sit. If I feel a negative emotion, this is an indication that some aspect of my lie-based heart belief has been accessed. If I choose to focus on what I feel, I might identify my emotion as feeling helpless and out of control. If I continue to focus on what I am feeling, I might remember the time in my third grade classroom when the class bully jerked me out of my chair and took “my” seat from me. The “bully” memory is my experiential belief (memory content) of when and where I learned my heart belief—my interpretation of what happened and why I believe it occurred. This heart belief is causing me to feel what I am presently feeling. Because I have been well trained in TPM, I know logically that what I am feeling has nothing to do with the person presently in “MY” seat!
So then, rather than being rude to that person, I may find a quiet place and process what is going on inside. While I am pondering the situation at hand and focusing on what I feel, a Bible verse may come to my mind: “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves ….” I may even remember the reference location of the verse: Philippians 2:3. It is possible that the Spirit reminded me of this truth as a way of providing me with on-the-spot direction, but it is more likely that this Bible verse is an intellectual belief coming to my mind. If it is the latter, then remembering this Bible verse will not make me feel better or make my out-of-control feelings subside. Although I believe this Bible truth intellectually, it does not match my heart belief which is causing me to feel badly in the moment. This is also why I may struggle about what to do next.
I may feel compelled to smack or yell at the person who “took” my seat, but I also know what the Bible says about treating people in situations such as this and I do want to obey God’s word. If anything, the remembrance of this verse has made me feel worse, but it has also provided me with the right thing to do in the meantime. Nevertheless, in this moment I am “double-minded” since my intellectual belief in what the Bible says is running contrary to my heart belief that is making me feel defensive and aggressive. Even though I believe with my mind this intellectual belief it does not change my heart belief, but it provides enough fortitude to keep me from acting out the bad feelings that my heart belief has stirred up.
So knowing the truth intellectually provides me some benefit in the moment. However, instead of hurting the poor fellow who is in MY seat, I decide to find another seat, and sit down and apply the TPM Process with myself. As I process through my childhood “bully” memory, working through all my assumptions and conclusions, I may eventually identify the source of my feelings—my lie-based heart belief. Once identified, I can offer it up to the Lord for His perspective. In that moment the Spirit persuades me of the truth, and I then feel a sense of goodwill toward the person who is sitting in the seat I usually sit in. I can see now that this has been an opportunity provided by God, and because my mind has been renewed, I can approach the person with genuine kindness (a fruit of the Spirit), and welcome him to the service.
The problem revealed in this illustration is likely obvious. When the truth we believe intellectually runs contrary to what we believe with our hearts, a struggle ensues. We can believe intellectually that “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so,” and yet feel unloved by God because of our lie-based heart belief. We can believe that God will supply all of our needs, and yet live in constant fear and worry over how we will pay our bills. We can believe that we should “…do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than [ourselves]…” and yet feel upset with the man sitting in “our” seat. The true solution is the Spirit persuading us with His truth within our hearts. This is mind renewal that leads to genuine and lasting transformation: the fruit of the Spirit.
Congratulations. You made it this far!
You have successfully completed reading through this discussion about belief and TPM. However, this does not constitute completing the training. Completion is a relative term. Completion means you fully understand and comprehend it all and there is nothing left that you have not understood and possess.
As I said at the beginning of this track, even the most brilliant among us remember only about 12-18% of what we read the first time through. Your “completing” the training is not accomplished by just reading the articles and watching the videos. You should consider your training completed only when you have comprehended what is being taught and have mastered all of it as evidenced by successful ministry sessions with others as well as with yourself.
Will you make your goal to become as effective in this ministry as you possibly can be and not to just get through it. Take your time (the rest of your life) and learn well. There is no hurry. Strive for mastery instead of just getting through it.