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Suffering and Pain

Theophostic Prayer and Pain

Critic’s concern: Does the teaching of Ed Smith sufficiently account for the systemic nature of serious wounding experiences or does it over simplify such with a quick-fix to complicated issues.  Traditionally it is taught by many that restoration of such wounding is found in true discipleship, which involves healthy self-care, care for each other within the Body of Christ, and a careful walk with God. Is there any biblical evidence that we can expect quick-fixes to our emotional struggles?  



Ed Smith’s response: I have never suggested that TPM was a quick fix for all issues with which we deal.  I have overstated that mind renewal is a life long process that includes many elements beyond a process such as TPM. I agree that growing in Christ and attaining maturity requires much more than a TPM session, as you have stated, it is "found in true discipleship, which involves healthy self-care, care for each other within the Body of Christ, and a careful walk with God." However, if a person's emotional status is rooted in what he believes and this belief is renewed with truth, the emotional status can be resolved quickly.  I use an illustration to make this point in the Basic Seminar.  If I am awakened at night by a noise in my house and I "believe" that an intruder is in my home I will feel afraid.  However, if I discover that the noise was my pet cat and I am safe the fear will dissipate and I will feel calm.  When my belief changes so do my feelings. 

In  a TPM session much can happen with a specific lie-based belief that a person harbors. When he or she discovers the truth in the traumatic place that held the lies, the pain does indeed lift from that specific location. I have witnessed this many times. I think you are stuck on the “quickness” of a lie being replaced with truth. When I go into a dark room and turn on the light the darkness immediately departs. When a person is carrying deep pain that is rooted in a false belief (such as “I am worthless”) and receives truth in a session the pain immediately leaves. The reason it is instantaneous is because the pain was rooted in the belief.  When the belief is changed the feelings change to match the new belief. This does not mean the person does not need to be taught the bible, discipled, and gradually matured in Christ. However, if the pain I feel is caused by a lie then the pain should immediately lift and be replaced with peace when I know the truth. Truth also produces an emotion that matches it.  



Nevertheless, I am afraid that until you sit in a ministry session where a person surfaces deep genuine traumatic pain and then encounters Christ resulting in His peace, you may have a hard time comprehending what I am suggesting (and witnessing often). I have watched many people who surface deep pain during ministry sessions (such as PTSD in military servicemen, deep anguish in sexual abuse survivors, etc.) and have had the privilege of watching their pain dissipate as they connect with the Lord and receive His truth.  His truth resolves the pain and they report complete peace in these specific places that lasts. It will be interesting to see how this all shakes down with empirical research that is in developmental stages now. It will be interesting to see what impact finding freedom from the lies held in trauma memory actually has upon people and how much is actually “fixed” when this pain is resolved in their life. I have personally experienced hundreds of sessions and have noticed much behavior changes in me over the years.  I have watched my “personality” emerge as I have gained more and more freedom.  Many changes immediately followed the particular ministry session I experienced.  Those that I am in close relationship with report the same.  As I have already stated, TPM does not teach people how to live life, make good decisions, communicate better or love their spouse.  These things are taught and applied over the long haul.  However, lie-based pain is resolved when the person knows the truth.


It is also important to note that here is a big difference in lie-based pain and suffering for Jesus. I agree that God has called us to suffer with Christ.  However, He does not intend for us to carry around pain that is rooted in lies.  This is not suffering for Christ. This is deception. I have never suggested that we were to live a life free of pain but only free of pain that is rooted in lies. The “critics” that you refer to failed to make this distinction and never sought to clarify it even though I have always been clear on this point. If I am suffering for the Lord yet I am also feeling afraid, worried, abandoned and rejected, these emotions are coming from falsehood and not the outcome of sharing in His suffering. When the Lord suffered he was not consumed with fear, worry and anxiety. He was resting in the peace of God and looking forward to the "joy that lay before Him." We are to be "anxious for nothing" while we share in His suffering.  


Until you witness this process and watch people in deep traumatic pain come to a place of complete peace (that lasts and the pain does not return) it is hard to imagine.  There is a video session on the TPM web site of a mother who suffered a traumatic moment witnessing the near death of her little boy.  In the one session all the traumatic distress is resolved.  Almost two years later she is still reporting nothing but peace in the memory.  All I know is what I have seen and heard.  I rejoice in what the Lord appears to be doing.  If it flies in the face of what psychology says we should experience I am not sure what to say.  I know what all the victims of sexual abuse that I have worked with over the year would say.  They would say the peace of Christ “supersedes comprehension.”



Critic’s concern: Smith teaches that all people need TPM because we have all been wounded in life and have all “been infested” with lies associated with those painful experiences (Ibid, p. 29). Is this not an over statement?  Is it true that all of us have deceptions attached to all those uncomfortable events?

Ed Smith’s response:  You are correct in saying that “it is not true that ALL of us have deceptions attached to ALL those uncomfortable events.”  Every person responds to his or her personal life experiences in whatever way they choose (usually based upon the information that is available.)  It has never been suggested that all bad experiences produce lie-based thinking.  However, I think it is highly unlikely a person could completely escape being infested with lies in some measure while passing through this life.  It is more likely that everyone has some level of false thinking in their mind. And as far as all people needing TPM; all people need their minds renewed with truth whether it is through a process such as TPM or something else. Yes, all people need mind renewal. Romans 12:2 was written for all of us.  The only person that lived life on this earth and was not infected with falsehood was Jesus.  Whether we use a process such as TPM or something else, we need our minds cleaned up with truth.  


Critic’s concern: Theophostic Ministry seems to have little to say about this epidemic cause of intractable pain. It seems to me that sins of commission and omission, both by us and by others, directly and indirectly, is the primary cause of personality-related problems.  Thus I believe that TPM falters in supporting and encouraging personal spiritual disciplines and relational solutions to developmental immaturities and developmental damage.



Ed Smith’s response: I am afraid that this concern is an example of “because Ed Smith did not mention something then Ed Smith thinks it is not important.” You have come to an inaccurate conclusion here.  The 2007 manual is clear that TPM is good for what it is good for and does not replace any of the spiritual disciplines practiced by the Church over the last 2000 years. TPM has never been presented as the "cure-all" for all problems. The Basic Training materials are clear that TPM does not replace bible teaching, preaching, Christian counseling, nor does it take away from the person's responsibility to own up to what is his in the arena of personal behavior and sin.  


Learning life skills is a part of growth and maturity and a very important part of the over all work that may need to be done in helping a person who has been hurt.  Theophostic does not attempt to replace good counseling, advise giving, and education.  All of these play a part in the overall process of mind renewal.  I say this clearly in the training. However, each of the areas that you have listed is all connected to the person’s belief system. It is here that TPM is most productive. It has never been suggested that one session resolves all the issues a person carries.  Each session is focused on the lie-based pain that surfaces.  When the girl mentioned above in your example comes for ministry and complains that she cannot trust men this is an indication that she believes something about this.  This lack of trust will also carry a measure of emotional pain. The TPM facilitator will encourage her to feel what it feels like to trust a man.  These feelings will be followed to their belief source.  Each area listed; dealing with authority figures, why she cannot enjoy healthy sex, other relational issues will all be explored and lies exposed.  As each lie is dealt with the person will walk in more and more truth and lasting peace.


People are correct in suggesting that there are things that TPM cannot do.  Please read the section in the 2007 manual titled “Ten Things TPM Cannot Do. I would agree that there is a need for rebuilding and development in maturity.  I have never thought differently.  However, I have also witnessed a common outcome with many people in this area where little to no rebuilding was necessary.  In these cases the behavior (examples: sexual dysfunctions, phobias, relational issues etc.) often were no longer a problem in that they were defensive behaviors that were expressions of the pain.  When the pain was gone the behavior was no longer needed.  I do not suggest that with a few sessions all the problems we carry are gone.  I say that the process is over either when we die or the Lord returns.  It is a lifelong process of mind renewal, maturing and growing in the Lord.  The list of issues you provided, “dealing with trust issues, dismantling her unhelpful defenses, dealing with authority figures, relating to men, enjoying healthy sex, rebuilding her self-concept and self-esteem, and learning how to develop intimate relationships with the opposite sex” will each have at its root a lie-based belief system.  Here is where ongoing Theophostic Prayer is incorporated to expose these faulty beliefs and find deeper and deeper levels of resolution. It has never been suggested that people find complete freedom of all their lie-based thinking in a few sessions. I have been aggressively pursuing my freedom using TPM for over twelve years.  What I have discovered is that the longer I go the more I realize how much work there is to be done.  


Critic’s concern: Much pain in life comes from knowing the truth about our fallen world.  Are we not called to suffer with Christ?  Is all pain lie-based? 

Ed Smith's response:

We are also indeed called to suffer with Christ.  However, any emotion that is present in our life that is rooted in lies is not suffering for Jesus.  This is called exposure of what we believe.  The suffering may indeed be the refining fire that exposes our impure faith/belief so that the Lord can clean it up with His truth.  

I do not think that we all have to submit to this specific system of ministry but we all need mind renewal in some form or the other. I do believe that we all have lie-based thinking in our minds that need to be exposed and resolved with His truth. I say in the Basic manual:  


“Theophostic is not the “magic bullet” for all people at all times, but there is always a path through which God can accomplish His work if we seek it. God is certainly not limited to TPM. For those who have not had success using this approach to ministry (and have considered the points listed above), I would encourage you to diligently seek the Lord and see where He is leading you.  


Pursue other avenues of ministry and help. Keep knocking and believing that the Lord will open the door in His time. Please do not lie down and play the martyr, for He does have a specific plan for you. When someone says, “Theophostic Prayer Ministry just does not work for me,” I want to ask, “What then are you doing that is working?”  


God is at work in His children and when there is no evidence of this, either we are not His children or we are hindering the sanctification process in some way. If Theophostic Prayer Ministry is not effective, then some other means of help should be effective. If we are not continually moving in the direction of God’s healing grace and sanctification, then we are somehow choosing not to move, because this is the direction that God wants to take us.  


I encourage everyone to pursue God with his or her whole heart, mind and strength, for He desires to reveal Himself to us. He has called us to come to Him in faith where He can restore us and make us whole. “For without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).  


I assume that you would agree that you need some portion of your belief system renewed with truth or do you believe that all of your thinking is holy and perfect?  That was a rhetorical question.  How you arrive at the place where you are able to walk in perfect truth, abiding in His peace and allowing His peace to rule in your heart and experiencing the “Lord of peace grant(ing) you peace in every circumstance” is multifaceted but nonetheless what God desires.  However, to say that we all do not need this, that is, mind renewal, not TPM, fails to align oneself with the mandate to “be transformed by the renewing of the mind.”  


I had a pastor one time say to me that he did not think that he needed to have any lie-based thinking resolved in his life. He had put his past behind him.  Later his wife told me that his past was very evident in how he related to her (difficulty with being affectionate), how he pastored his church (very controlling) and how he had raised his kids (uninvolved).She said that his life look just like from where he had come.  Sometimes we fail to make the connection between our behavior and our belief system.  Many of us spend much time in piling biblical truth up on top of the painful lie-based thinking we harbor and become smarter but remain in pain.  Sometimes we fail to recognize what lie-based pain looks like.  We blame-shift our feeling onto others, the job, just being tired, etc.  How many times I said to my wife (prior to practicing these principles) “you make me so mad, upset, frustrated, etc.  ”We generally feel whatever we believe.  Our feelings are pretty clear indicators of what is on the inside.



All I am saying is that all of us hold lies in our minds.  I have never met a person that was not acting out in some measure the lie-based pain that he harbors.  We all need mind renewal.  Mind renewal goes beyond gaining knowledge.  Renewal implies removing something and replacing it with something else.  I have had people say I don’t have any lie-based thinking to work on.  However, all you have to do is ask their spouse for a different opinion.  Many of us have much truth in our minds and have memorized much of the Scripture.  However, life has a way of exposing what we really believe.  I can say “My God shall provide all of my needs” but if I am worried over my finances then I actually believe something contrary.  Every belief we hold we learned in a life experience.  None of us gained our belief system apart from life experience.  Therefore all belief is held in memory.  The lie-based thinking in these life experiences needs to be renewed.  Often this occurs over time just walking out the truth in new experiences.  However, it can also happen in a ministry session where I deliberately choose to follow my troublesome emotion (such as worry over finances) back to its source.  I can then choose to hold this false belief up to the Lord and receive His wisdom.

Lie-based pain Verses Truth-based Pain

As far as all pain being lie-based or not I teach in the training that there are two forms of pain. Lie-based and truth-based. The pain you are referring to here is what I teach called truth-based pain as opposed to lie-based.  For example, if I feel bad after sinning then this is guilt.  When I am wrong in what I do I should feel bad because it is the truth that what I have done is wrong.  The same can be said about the emotion of sadness.  If what happened to me as a child cost me a loving relationship, good things that God intended for me, or other losses, then this is sad.  Other truth-based emotions might include disappointment, regret and bereavement. I distinguish between truth-based pain and lie-based pain in the Basic Training. You can do a simple word search in the PDF copy of the 2007 manual.  Emotions such as anxiousness, worry, hopelessness, despair, fear, false shame, etc. have no biblical excuse.  These are lie-based and God desires we know truth.]I make this statement on the TPM website and somewhere in the following text:  

“Theophostic Prayer Ministry recognizes that there are some negative emotions that are not lie-based but actually truth-based. Such feelings as disappointment, grief, sadness, regret and anger are often rooted in truth. If you were to ask a survivor of sexual abuse why they may be angry, they might respond with, "Because what he did was wrong!" This would be the truth. However, if what I feel is fear, shame, abandonment, etc., this is lie-based. Theophostic Prayer Ministry sees it as important for a person to find freedom from both lie-based and truth-based emotional pain since we are commanded by the Word of God to "cast all of our burdens on Him" (1 Peter 5:7). However, truth-based emotions are biblically righteous, whereas emotions such as anxiety, worry, fear, and feelings of abandonment are not, since we are told to "Be anxious for nothing" (Phil. 4:6), "fear not" (Matt. 10:31), and to know that He is with us always so we cannot be abandoned (Matt. 28:20), etc.  The TPM facilitator is trained to know the difference between lie-based and truth-based emotion and how to deal with each accordingly.” 

Critic’s concern: Smith teaches that present pain is rooted in past pain.  If it is true that every present feeling is rooted in a past feeling, then any past feeling could never be the first feeling. We are left with an infinite regression of past feelings rooted in some former feeling. Furthermore, if it were to be conceded in the face of this indisputable logic that there were in fact first time feelings experienced in the past, then why can’t we experience first time feelings in the present? What makes the past special? Any present experience will soon be past. What makes one past event more significant than another, just because it is earlier?  

Ed Smith’s response:  You may have made this much more complicated than is needed.  I actually do explain this in the training which is were I will refer you to for details.  However, for clarification, I do not believe or teach that present feelings are rooted in past feelings but rather that present feelings are rooted in belief and that all belief was learned in a past event therefore my present feeling is very likely rooted in my early belief. Feelings do not produce feelings. For the most part, thinking/belief produces emotion (unless it is a chemical issue).  It makes no sense to say that feelings are the root of anything. It is belief that is at the root. I believe and thus I feel. All belief began somewhere in time. What I also say is that the present situation is “rarely” the primary source of our pain. The root of the pain is not past emotion but the lie-based belief. The feeling is attached or created by the belief.

Of course there are the cases where emotion is rooted in biochemical problems and unrelated to belief. Also there are rare occasions where the present situation is the sole source of our emotion when the current situation is producing original belief. For example, if I am being abducted at gun point and raped this is real present pain and may have little or nothing to do with my past experience interpretation. However, this new experience very well may become a source for interpreting future experiences. For example, ten years later I may find myself having a panic attack when I see a stranger approaching me on the street.  


What I am teaching here is never more evident than in a marital relationship. Over the last 12 years my wife and I have chosen to stop looking at the other as the source of our individual pain. We both have discovered that what the other does that seems to be painful is rarely about the relationship but more about exposure of our own lie-based belief. As we have chosen to submit to ministry and search out the true source of our pain we have found that 99% of the time the current conflict and pain was completely resolved without working on the marriage and actually rooted in belief that was learned in each our own historical event. Our marriage today is better that ever before. We have very few conflicts these days. There is a presence of peace that was never there before. The same is being reported by couples all around the world.  


Critic’s concern: Smith teaches that emotional pain comes from the lies harbored in memory events. Does that mean all lies produce pain and all pain is rooted in lies?    

Ed Smith’s response: NO, not all lies produce pain. If I believe that 2+2=5 it will not cause me discomfort. However, lies such as “I am worthless” “Grandpa abusing me made me unclean and dirty”, “I am a defect” etc. produce matching emotions. Generally speaking whatever I believe at the core level will have emotional impact on my emotional status. A good test is simply to wait until you are feeling some negative emotion and see if it is not connected to what you believe. I cannot think of a time that when my emotions were stirred there was not something going on in my thinking that was behind it. TPM does not teach that all pain is rooted in lies. Here again please read the Basic Manual. I am clear about this. Emotion can have many sources. However, emotion that is rooted in lie-based thinking is not God’s will for our lives. We are called to suffer for Christ. However, this suffering will not produce the emotions of fear, worry, anxiety, hopelessness, etc. These emotions may surface when we are suffering for Christ but they are not rooted in truth. It is during suffering that God often exposes our lie-based thinking so that He might refine our faith/belief. Please watch the DVD series “The Refinement of Belief” that is on the TPM website.  


Critic’s concern: If it is true that feelings can diminish, change, or intensify over time depending on other experiences and how we relate those new experiences to past ones can this not impact us in how these emotions relate to our thinking?   


Ed Smith’s response: This practice used in TPM is based upon the feelings that are generated by the belief, not the memory event.  TPM also teaches that the intensity of the emotion is not important in identifying the belief behind it.  Emotion plays an important role in the mininstry process but it is not the goal.

 The event will fade but the belief is held onto and becomes the grid of interpretation for future experiences. Therefore the emotion attached to the belief is maintained. I have logged thousands of hours in ministry with people and this principle has been consistent. I feel you may need experience in this area to understand what I am referring to in this. I have found that people come to ministry because they are in pain not because they are looking for it. Feeling pain has not been a problem for people who have come for help.  


Critic’s concern: It seems that Smith may think there is only one original source of an uncomfortable feeling or toxic thought. Why? Many false conclusions with attending emotions are reached over time from multiple experiences with accumulating effects.  


Ed Smith’s response: I do not believe that a person has to find the “original” lie today even though I was somewhat emphatic about this in the early years. When you read the 2007 edition of the training you will see that this is not an emphatic position held any longer. However, there was a first time for everything under the sun. All thoughts started in a single moment in time.

However, much happens thereafter and therefore more is added to and beliefs change and are augmented over time. I agree with what you have stated here and teach this now in the training materials. However, it is very common that people go to original places where they first embraced a particular belief. But this is not a hard and fast rule. The facilitator should never force this issue but go only where the person chooses to go.  



Critic’s Concern: As Smith argues, pain may be a precursor to personal sin, but I would say not to the propensity to sin. That is a heart (or Core) issue.  


Ed Smith’s response: This is a theological argument that is not foundational for the Theophostic Prayer process. I agree sin is a core issue that is more than difficult to explain. There are theologians all over the place on this one. Here is what I say in the Basic Manual. Notice my disclaimer in the last sentence.  

“Human beings were originally created in the image of God. They sinned by disobeying God; thus, they were alienated from their Creator. The Fall of man brought all of mankind under divine condemnation. Our original nature is corrupted, and we are thus totally unable to please God in our fallen flesh.  

Every person is in need of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit. Salvation is wholly a work of God’s free grace and is not the product, in whole or in part, of human works or goodness or religious ceremony. God imputes His righteousness to those who put their faith in Christ alone for their salvation, and thereby justifies them in His sight.  

It is the privilege of all who are born again of the Spirit to be assured of their salvation from the very moment in which they trust Christ as their Savior. This assurance is not based on any kind of human merit, but is produced by the witness of the Holy Spirit, who confirms in the believer the testimony of God in His written Word.  

Since all people are born in a fallen state, separated from God, those who do not respond in faith to God’s gracious free gift through Christ live in a fallen state and will be eternally separated from God in hell. Those who come to Christ in faith are made new creatures and will live in heaven for all eternity.  

Jesus took on our sin that we might become His righteousness. God is actively at work through the Holy Spirit in the life of believers, renewing their minds and maturing their inner selves “till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13-14).  

…Yes, we have a propensity toward sin and are drawn continually to fulfill the lust of this earthly flesh, but our hearts have been made new. Our hearts of stone have been replaced with a heart of flesh. This was foretold by the Prophet Ezekiel when he said, “I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and do them. Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God” (Ezekiel 11:19-20). Notice that it says God will give them a new Spirit and a new heart so that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and do them. The doing comes after the becoming. We are to put off the old ways and do the new things, not in order to become or attain something, but because of what we already possess and what we have already become. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians. 5:17). It is important to note that you do not have to embrace my personal theology here to do Theophostic Prayer. This is a non-essential part of doing this ministry process. I would encourage you to do your own study in this area at another time…  


It seems that just beneath the surface, many Christians’ lives are a mess. A primary reason is that they have bought into the thinking that the person who sins the least (at least overtly) is the most spiritual. As a result, many believers try to attain holiness by controlled behavior. Righteous behavior based on self-discipline is religious practice, not true transformation.  

The distinguishing feature of Christians is not their outward presentation but the presence of Christ and the transformation that occurs when He is free to do His work within each believer. We should strive against sin, but only with total dependence on Him and submission to His handiwork, or it will result in performance-based spirituality and self-righteousness.  

Self-discipline is of value; the Apostle Paul said, “I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27). However, he also said, “Bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:8).  

Some respond, “But self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit!” This is correct: it is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, not a fruit of people’s efforts. There is a vast difference between the two. Yet we sometimes turn “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22) into a list of qualities we should attain by self-discipline, rather than a natural overflow of the Holy Spirit. The fruit of the Holy Spirit is not something that we do or perform but something that we have.  

Christianity is all about Christ in us, transforming us in a way that we cannot accomplish through our own strength, discipline, and effort. Jesus taught us that unless our righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the Pharisees (self-righteousness), we will not see the Kingdom of God. Paul says we are made righteous by grace through faith, not by our works. Paul also made it very clear that the Law was completely fulfilled in us through Christ (Romans 8). [1]  

We teach “righteousness by faith,” but then assign the believer the impossible task of keeping the “New Testament law” by trying to overcome sin. Without question we must “put off the deeds of darkness” (Romans 13:12), not in order to become holy or righteous, but as a result of who we are in Christ. The scriptural truth is that we are already His saints, or holy ones in Christ and so we should put off that which is not becoming of saints (Romans 5). I am not proclaiming perfectionism for I know my propensity to sin. I am however, proclaiming and accepting that God made me a new creation and has given me a new heart in Christ. I am not the same “old man” I was before I came to Christ. There is a “new man” resident in me that is being created in righteousness and being conformed into the image of Christ.  

Yes, we have a propensity toward sin and are drawn continually to fulfill the lust of this earthly flesh, but our hearts have been made new. Our hearts of stone have been replaced with a heart of flesh. This was foretold by the Prophet Ezekiel when he said, “I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and do them. Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God” (Ezekiel 11:19-20). Notice that it says God will give them a new Spirit and a new heart so that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and do them. The doing comes after the becoming. We are to put off the old ways and do the new things, not in order to become or attain something, but because of what we already possess and what we have already become. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians. 5:17). It is important to note that you do not have to embrace my personal theology here to do Theophostic Prayer. This is a non-essential part of doing this ministry process. I would encourage you to do your own study in this area at another time.  

I believe the primary point of defeat in sinful behavior is found in the arena of our thinking. It is a neurological fact that we cannot act out sinfully without first giving thought to doing so. When our lie-based thinking is stirred up in painful emotion, we can either choose to give in to temptations or seek the Lord’s renewal of our minds, which will empower us to resist sin. Annabel Gilham said, “The battle of sin is won or lost at the threshold of the mind.” We can’t attain righteousness through willpower or self-effort, but when we receive truth and submit to the Lord’s power that “works in us” (Ephesians 3:20), transformation (godly living) will be the result. Hear again what the Apostle Paul said in Romans 12:2, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” The doing follows the transformation, which is the outcome of renewal.  

Study the Bible passages about God at work in us and notice how the verses about putting off “the deeds of darkness” are prefaced with words that declare what and who we are in Christ. Freedom is found in “Christ in you, the hope of Glory” (Colossians 1:27). As our minds are set free from falsehood and deception, we are better able to allow God to do His work in us.” 














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