The Fruit of the Spirit is Not a “To-Do” List
The Fruit of The Spirit is Not a To-Do List
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Checking Off Your List
- The evidence of God’s work being accomplished in us is the presence of the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
- The Scriptures have not called us to go and act like the truth, but rather to be transformed by it.
- The fruit of the Holy Spirit –which is evidence of transformation– is totally the work of God, who produces the fruit of the Holy Spirit naturally, spontaneously, and without effort on our part.
- There is a stark difference between biblical transformation which God brings about and what we do with our controlled behavior, spiritual performance, self-discipline, and noble attempts at ardent obedience.
- Much energy is invested in trying to conform our behavior to the truth as opposed to the truth transforming us.
- Transformation is the end result of completely changing in form, from one thing into another.
- The believer’s transformation is the genuine and permanent change that occurs in mind and behavior as an outcome of God renewing his or her mind with truth.
The evidence of God’s work being accomplished in us is the presence of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. His fruit is not something that we produce or act out, but rather something that is born in us through His inner work. Expressing the fruit of the Holy Spirit is not accomplished by us acting like Jesus, mimicking his behavior (“W.W.J.D.”) or through performance-based spirituality. The fruit of the Holy Spirit –which is evidence of transformation– is totally the work of God, who produces the fruit of the Holy Spirit naturally, spontaneously, and without effort on our part. It is God’s fruit; not our own. (What was just stated is worth reading again.)
Jesus continually expressed the fruit of the Holy Spirit because He was always abiding in the truth. Our being like Jesus is not achieved through our trying to act like Him, but rather when we walk in the same truth in which He walked. Since it is the Spirit’s fruit and not our own, it is impossible for us to produce any real fruit through our own effort and performance. All attempts to go out and try to be like Jesus will not produce lasting fruit. Our attempts to conform our behavior to the truth has failed dismally and will never work. But then, the Scriptures have not called us to go and act like the truth, but rather to be transformed by it.
If we are to ever look like Jesus, we won’t do it though our own effort. We need to be transformed into His likeness through the work that God alone can bring about since “… we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” (2 Cor. 3:18).
Transformation is the Goal
- Transformation requires no effort on our part to maintain. It is truly His fruit and not our own.
- Victory is what we either have or we do not have, not something we are struggling to obtain or maintain.
- It is our faith and not our effort that brings about the reality of the victory. We need to stop fighting and start believing.
- The very fact that we struggle is an indication that we believe something contrary to the truth we are trying to believe.
- Nothing stands between you and the freedom that God has for you other than your choice.
What I have been describing here is the biblical concept called “transformation,” thus, the name “Transformation Prayer Ministry.” The concept of transformation is carried all throughout the Scriptures and is described in the passage that says, “Be transformed by the renewing of the mind.” (Romans 12:2).
There is a stark difference between biblical transformation which God brings about and what we do with our controlled behavior, spiritual performance, self-discipline, and noble attempts at ardent obedience. All of these things are driven and accomplished by the one doing them. Even unbelievers can do these things such as these if they try hard enough. Controlled behavior is practiced by all other world religions, whereas biblical transformation made manifest in us is accomplished by God through the truth of the Holy Spirit. Even though we cannot produce fruit in and of ourselves, we can participate with God by choosing to cooperate with and submitting to Him as He works in us (Phil 2:13, 1 Pet. 5:6-10).
Too often we invest much energy in trying to conform our behavior to the truth as opposed to the truth transforming us.
There is a major difference in our attempts in conforming our behavior to the truth and our being transformed by it. The primary difference is in who is accomplishing what in each instance. Conforming our behavior to the truth is something that we can do (as well as any unbeliever), whereas transformation is a work of God and doesn’t depend on our own effort.
This biblical understanding of “transformation” is the desired outcome of TPM. Pain resolution and changed behavior are also to be expected, but they are not why we do TPM. These things are not viewed as a goal or a task to accomplish, but rather an expected outcome of transformation. True transformation is a finished work that only God can bring about.
Biblical transformation is not something that must be maintained, held together, or labored over. It is not the outcome of controlled behavior, outstanding performance, perfected obedience, working hard, trying harder, sinning less, serving more, trying to be more holy, righteous or godly, stopping some behavior or starting another, doing less, or doing more. It is the end result of our being completely changed in form, from one thing into another. It is similar to a caterpillar changing into a butterfly. It is a change that only God can bring about as we submit to His handiwork.
(Note: It is interesting that the word metamorphose used to describe the butterfly’s transformation is the same New Testament Greek word used to describe our own. Metamorphose is what God is doing in us that transforms us from one thing into another. In the same way the butterfly does not have to work at being a butterfly, neither do we have to work at being like Jesus once we are transformed.)
The believer’s transformation is the genuine and permanent change that occurs in mind and behavior as an outcome of God renewing his or her mind with truth. Biblical transformation is totally, entirely, completely, absolutely a work of God that makes it possible to live out the will of God (Rom. 12:2). To the degree that the believer knows the truth in his heart, it becomes his faith, and transformation will follow: Always!
Transformation Brings About True Victory
Since transformation is a permanent, eternal outcome of an inner working of the Holy Spirit, it requires no effort on our part to maintain. It is truly His fruit and not our own. The result of knowing and walking in the truth is effortless victory! Sadly, however, much of what we currently describe as victory still has an element of work, struggle, and self-effort. Yet, victory is what we either have or we do not have, not something we are struggling to obtain or maintain.
Victory occurs after the battle has been fought and won, not while the soldier is still fighting. If we are struggling to be victorious, then we cannot say we are walking in victory. If we say we have victory in the power and eternal life of the resurrected Christ, the Son of God, and yet we struggle, this suggests that there is a disconnect somewhere. Since the Bible says we are victorious, then this is the truth. Period!
John the Apostle boils it down to two questions; 1) “Who is your Father? and 2) “Where is your faith?” “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world– our faith.” (1 John 5:4. Also see Romans 8:37) Since we are born of God, we have overcome the world. Our victory is realized when we know this truth in faith.
It is our faith and not our effort that brings about the reality of the victory. We need to stop fighting and start believing. However, even our believing is a work of God. Trying harder to believe does not work either. Our primary task is identify what we believe that is not a purified faith (lie-based belief) and then to position ourselves to receive the pure faith He has to give. If we are struggling to believe, then the answer is not in our trying harder. The very fact that we struggle is an indication that we believe something contrary to the truth we are trying to believe. (This is double-mindedness.) The answer is the truth. Again, our task at hand is to discover what it is we believe that is contrary to the victory that is already ours.
It’s Your Time.
Freedom from the lies we believe and the consequential pain that we carry is within our reach. Nothing stands between us and the freedom that God has for us other than our own choice. Make freedom a high priority and invest yourself in bringing it about by intentionally and purposefully cooperating with what God is doing in refining our faith, renewing our minds and transforming our lives.
Choose to take ownership for what you believe and thus feel. Make the decision to stop blaming others or your life situation for why you feel what you feel. The truth is, no one or thing can make you feel anything that you feel. If this were so, then you can never know freedom unless your world changes. We each feel whatever we believe. Our emotion is produced by what we hold as truth in our hearts. When we know His truth, our emotions will change to match His perspective.
HINT: You are encouraged to read over this article many times. No one comprehends more than about 15% of what they read. If what you read was worthy of your time then take time to invest in knowing it. It is VITALLY important that you take responsibility for your own journey and freedom. We are not victims who need to be rescued, but rather people who have free wills and can make the choice to look toward Christ and the freedom He offers. Please make studying this overview, as well as all the rest of the training that is freely available to you, a high priority. To the degree that you understand what is contained within these pages, your ministry session will flow more smoothly and you increase the potential for having great success.
If you are a ministry facilitator be sure and encourage your mentee to invest in this ministry. To the degree he or she understand the process, principles and purpose of TPM they will make TPM a lifestyle and personal practice.