Faith Produced Transformation
Every Believer Ever Progressing
The Process of Transformation Prayer Ministry (TPM) is a means by which every member of the Body of Christ may intentionally, consistently, and systematically participate with God in His process and “handiwork” (Eph. 2:10) of refining their faith, that brings about the renewing of their minds and that produces an effortless transformation in their belief and behavior. The reason that it is effortless is because it is God produced: the fruit of His Spirit. We cannot produce His fruit we can only bear it. Bearing fruit it is the outcome of what He has done.
Of course we know that TPM is only a way for us to participate with God in His work. God is in no way limited or confined to any method or system we might devise. Nonetheless, every believer should be progressing in his journey with God being continually transformed into His likeness. If this is not so, then something is amiss.
The Proper Order
The order of things is clear in the Scriptures where it reveals who is doing what in the process of transformation: that is, what is God’s role and what is ours. It says, “…be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding (what God does), SO THAT you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father…” (What we are able to do because of what God did.) (Col. 1:9-10)
Our role in this passage is not to go out and try to do something, but rather, because God has done what He has done, the outcome will be us doing it. This is the difference between fruit and works.
If our role is to cooperate, how do we accomplish this? The first step is to re-frame our unavoidable life troubles, difficulties and crises as opportunities for benefit as opposed to a drudgery we must endure and somehow get through. These “opportunities” are the context in which God is doing His refining and renewing work. When we are genuinely able to recognize God’s handiwork in the midst of our crises, difficulties and trials, the “refiner’s fire” ceases to be a threat and takes on a whole different meaning. However, if we fail to understand God’s process of refinement, we may be caught off guard by the “fire” when it comes, discouraged by its flames and fail to benefit from its purification.
The Apostle Peter warned of this when he wrote, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation” (1 Pet. 4:12-13).
As we are able to cooperate with God in the midst of our “fiery ordeal” this refining of our faith brings about mind renewal that results in effortless transformation. The Apostle Paul revealed this relationship of mind renewal and transformation when he said, “… be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” (Rom. 12:2).
The mind renewal described here is a work of God and not self-accomplished. It goes far beyond filling our mind with Bible verses and reaches into the depths of our inner being. Without question, intellectual knowledge of the Scriptures has its purpose, but without a refined faith it only makes us smarter and may even “puffeth up” or make us arrogant (1 Cor. 8:1). The mind renewal that God produces is the outcome of a purified faith that results in transformation.
“What is faith-produced transformation?”
Then this raises the question, “What is faith-produced transformation?” Again, it is not something that we produce on our own or even with God’s help. This is not an endeavor in partnership with God but one of submission and total reliance on what only God can do. It is only brought about as an outcome of an inner working of the Holy Spirit. When this occurs the outcome is the expected and spontaneous expression of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. His fruit flows naturally and effortlessly out of the transformation He brings about. Simply put, apart from genuine transformation the fruit cannot be experienced.
Transformation makes it possible to walk in the Spirit and to live out the written Word of God through the power of Christ. Transformation makes it possible for us to rightly discern and even to do the will of God. The Apostle Paul said this succinctly when he wrote, “… be transformed by the renewing of your mind, SO THAT you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12:2 HCSB).
This reality is again clarified by Paul when he wrote, “it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Gal. 2:20). The apostle is describing here a position of rest in this passage as opposed to one of labor. Too often we approach the Scriptures as a “rule book” to follow and then put out our best effort in performing it. This is how the Muslims approach the Koran and the Buddhists seek to follow the teachings of Buddha. But it is not the way of Christ.
If we try to conform our behavior to match the truth, we will not experience transformation; this is conformity. Transformation is not the result of trying to conform our behavior to the truth, but rather a result of being transformed by the truth into His image. Only God can bring this about. Performance-based spirituality is often mistakenly thought to be transformation when in fact it is the same process all other world religions advocate and practice.
Too often, it is the one who performs and looks the best who is considered to be the most spiritual or transformed. This is not so. Transformation is not accomplished by performance and has nothing to do with what we can accomplish in our own strength.
Transformation is a genuine and lasting change that God brings about through the refinement of our faith. It is a sad reality, but nonetheless true, that much of what we have called spirituality and transformation in the Christian life is nothing more than the controlled behavior that any lost person could do if he just set his mind to doing it.