What TPM Can and Cannot Do
A tool designed for a specific purpose
We live in SW Florida. There is a basic rule here that you learn to respect. “Where there is water, there are alligators.” SW Florida is basically a swamp and swamps are where alligators live and so anything water related may be his home. One night my daughter Hannah said to me, “Dad, I think that there is an alligator trying to get into my bedroom window.” Sure enough, a five foot gator had noticed Hannah’s cat setting in the window seal and was trying to figure out how to snag it for dinner.
I possess two special tools for dealing with problems such as this. One is a short pole with a rope looped on one end that I can slip over the gators snout and the other is my roll of duck tape. On this particular night, I lassoed the gator and duck taped his mouth shut. From there it was a short drive down the road to the canal where I returned our night visitor to his family.
I am certain that there is no tool out there that is more versatile or that offers as many different applications as “Duck Tape.” Duck tape can bind up most anything broken, stop leaks, repair your broken glasses, and even restrain that unruly child in the restaurant (maybe not), but alligators for sure.
This is not so with TPM. TPM has never been touted as a “FIX ALL” for everything that ails you. From its inception in 1995, it has been understood as a “tool” designed for a specific purpose. Like the tool in the hand of the master blacksmith hammering and shaping iron for a specific outcome, so, too, God has used this tool to bring about a specific work in the heart of the one receiving His attention.
TPM is specifically designed to help a person identify his lie-based core belief (also called heart belief). Once a lie is identified in a TPM session and offered up to the Lord, the Spirit does what only the Spirit can do: He grants His truth to the person experientially, resulting in this truth being believed with their heart. When this occurs, transformation follows spontaneously and without any effort. This is the purpose of the “tool” and not anything else. TPM provides us a way by which we can intentionally cooperate with what God is doing in refining our faith, renewing our minds and transforming our lives.
Not a Quick Fix
The “tool” of TPM does not bring about any quick fix, even though much is often accomplished in a short amount of time. TPM is about having our minds renewed with truth and experiencing genuine and lasting transformation, as each lie is replaced with truth, over the course of our lifetime. TPM is a life skill and, hopefully, will become a lifestyle for those who use it. It is a way of viewing life’s difficulties as opportunities rather than just troubles to get through. TPM understands life crises and difficulties as God’s primary means of refining our faith. As we learn to cooperate with what God is doing, we can reap the benefits of His handiwork more effectively. TPM is a tool that we can take advantage of to aid this mind renewal and faith refining process.
Since mind renewal and sanctification is a lifelong journey, no single session (or one-hundred sessions) of this ministry will deal with all lie-based core beliefs or resolve all the pain in a person’s life. It would be marvelous if this were so, because I (Ed Smith) often grow weary of the journey and would love a quick fix. I am not anywhere near being free of all of my lie-based thinking and the consequential emotional pain in my life, even after thousands of personal session hours. When I say thousands, I mean literally thousands.
Rarely does a day pass without more of my own lie-based thinking being exposed. I have been practicing TPM since 1995 as is a lifestyle and personal spiritual discipline. I practice TPM daily as God exposes my lie-based belief. Because of my commitment to freedom, I am freer than I have ever been before, and I am moving daily in the direction of continually walking in His peace.
The bottom line is, if I do not deal with what is being exposed within me, it will not go anywhere. I will be destined to simply repeat the same old lie-driven behaviors over and over. TPM has provided me with a way, which I practice daily, to purposefully attend to the lies I believe.
There is much that TPM cannot nor is even intended to do. It does not equip people with life skills -how to balance their check book, fix their flat tire, parent their children, or brush their teeth. It does not replace biblical education or godly counsel and instruction. It does not deal with any aspect of the memory or determine what is accurate or not in the memory’s content. It does not deal directly with sinful behavior or the consequence of sin, remove appropriate shame or guilt, nor resolve genuine chemically-based mental disorders (though there is probably much misdiagnosis out there) and more.
Changing Behavior is not the goal of TPM
People often misunderstand the purpose of this tool. People come for prayer ministry for all manner of reasons and expectations. The one most common is simply, they feel badly and want the bad feelings to go away. Many initially believe that TPM is a pain management tool helping them to manage their pain. As we know, TPM is not about managing pain or making pain go away. That is NOT the purpose of this tool. In TPM, pain is viewed as our friend pointing out the lies we believe and a necessary part of the ministry process.
Sometimes people come with a presenting problem they are seeking to resolve, such as, addictions, habits and other behavioral issues. Some people seek help because they have been diagnosed with some psychological condition such as bipolar, obsessive/compulsive disorder, panic disorder, depression etc. TPM does not focus on any of these conditions or make any promises as to whether these concerns will be resolved following a ministry session.
For example, if someone were to ask a TPM facilitator as to whether TPM would “work with” some mental disorder, the correct answer would be “I don’t know.” TPM is focused on identifying lie-based belief and receiving the Lord’s perspective and not changing behavior. Changed behavior is an expected outcome of knowing the truth, but there is no predictable way of knowing what behavior will be impacted.
Of course, it is possible that any or all of these conditions may be rooted in lie-based thinking and if so, TPM may benefit. However, when a person comes seeking TPM for any of these behaviors, symptoms or diagnosed issues, they are never addressed in a ministry session.
If a person seeks help through TPM for anything other than identifying their lie-based thinking and for gaining the Lord’s perspective, the ministry facilitator should quickly inform them that that is not the purpose of TPM. However, no matter what a person condition, behavioral issue or psychological diagnoses may be, all people harbor lies that are causing them some manner of trouble. We always feel whatever we believe, and we tend to act out what we feel. Therefore, it is assumed that much of our troublesome behavior is motivated by our lie-based emotions. We tend to either seek to distract ourselves of the pain through some form of self-medication or we act out our pain onto others through blame-shifting or hurtful behavior.
There is no way to know whether a person’s behaviors or condition will change after receiving truth during a TPM session, but we can expect their lies to no longer feel true when the Holy Spirit grants them His perspective. When the Holy Spirit grants us truth and persuades us of the truth in our hearts, we will be transformed in some measure. If our behavior or psychological condition changes after having received truth from the Holy Spirit, we might surmise that the behavior was a symptom of the lie-based belief.
We cannot initially know if the behavior and the lie believed were related with any certainty, but we can know if the lie still feels true or not. Whether the lie feels true or not is the only real test we have for our initial transformation. When the lie no longer feels true, and the truth is established in our hearts, some manner of transformation will follow, but not necessarily a change in the behavior we were concerned about. Transformation of our belief is the first wave of transformation we should expect before subsequent behavioral changes.
Effortless behavioral change is the second level of transformation. This will be the spontaneous expression of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is the ultimate evidence of transformation. Experiencing the fruit is an expected outcome of God renewing our minds with His truth. Bearing the fruit (as opposed to doing the fruit) is an outcome of knowing the truth in our hearts with an absolute certainty.
So then, the intention of the TPM “tool” is to help us to identify lie-based core belief and move to a position where we can exchange it for the Lord’s truth. If the root of our troubles is in what we believe and we are willing to bring this out into His light, then He will grant us the truth. This is the purpose and intent of the TPM Process and the desire of God for all believers. So whether we utilize the TPM process or not, one way or the other we are called to “Be transformed by the renewing of [our] minds…” (Rom. 12:2).