Carnal or Spiritual

There appear to be many misconceptions about things that are carnal and things that are spiritual.  Let me just illustrate with a few myths (not exactly truths) about carnality and spirituality.

Myth #1 – Carnal is bad or sinful, and spiritual is good.  Well, at least part of this statement is true, but to say carnal is bad or sinful is not to state it so well.  Not all carnal things are bad.  Eating food is carnal, but is necessary for physical life to exist.  Sleeping is carnal, but necessary to keep our body going.  The big mistake Christians make is to not understand what carnality is, and which carnal things are sinful and which ones are not.

Myth #2 – But, carnality leads to death, and so say the scripture.  Let’s put this in a different way – to live a carnal life with no spiritual guidance, or redemption, will surely lead to death.  But even if we are spiritual there are some carnal things we must do in order to keep our existence in this physical world.

The carnal nature is what we are born with.  The spiritual nature is something we inherit when we become born again by the Spirit of Christ.  These two are at odds with each other, and will be at odds with each other in our physical existence as long as we live on this earth.  The carnal nature doesn’t understand spiritual things, nor does it want to.  It is only interested in things that promote ‘self’.  In brief, the carnal nature is raw, selfish, self-centered, impulsive, and generally acts to promote ‘self’, and not others.

The carnal nature will never inherit heaven.  It is not going.  Our nature that has been regenerated by the Spirit will go, but the carnal nature will not go.

In the Christian’s life the spiritual nature is to take priority and dominion over the carnal nature.  The spiritual nature is to subdue and crucify the carnal nature, or in short, put it to death.  Of course, this doesn’t mean harming the physical body, but it means put the carnal nature under the control of the spiritual nature.

Myth #3 – You can control or subdue the carnal nature with carnal thinking or carnal weapons.  Let’s put this a different way – you cannot control your carnal nature by your own thinking, will-power, wisdom, knowledge, or devices.  “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal…”  You will surely fail, if you attempt to control the carnal nature by purely your own means or strength.  The weapons we need are spiritual, and only spiritual weapons will work in this battle.

Myth #4 – My ability and strength at wielding spiritual weapons will bring me victory.  Not quite – your strength and ability are necessary to surrender to the Will of Christ, and then you may have the victory.  It is not your strength and ability that will save the day, at least not directly.  It is the surrender to the will of God and Christ that will bring the victory.  Look at the example of Christ, who said repeatedly, “I don’t speak of myself.  I speak the words I hear my Father speak”, or “I came not to do my own will, but the will of the Father”.  In these examples, Christ makes it clear that He is not directing things, He is submitting Himself to His Father.  Take the example of David when facing Goliath.  David used two types of weapons when facing Goliath – carnal (the stone and sling), and the spiritual (his faith in God).  Which one do you think really brought the victory that day?  Do you really think it was the stone and sling and David’s skill with those weapons that saved the day?  Not really.  So, when we do combat don’t think your own skill and ability will save the day.  It will be your faith and submission to Christ and the Father, and then He may use your skill and ability to do things beyond your imagination.

I have more to say on this topic, but it is quite large, so I will have to save it for another time…

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One Response to “Carnal or Spiritual”

  1. beamcguire@gmail.com Says:

    Great blog! Unfortunately in this world that we live in today the Christian life seems to be the carnal life. It bothers me when people don’t desire to strive to defeat the carnal man. Staying in the Word will do it! Thank you for such a great blog. It’s one that is needed so desperately in these last days! Blessings…

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