Article: Are you a Carnal or Spiritual Christian? | Jacob Varghese
False notions about Christianity and the inconsistent life style of Christians generally raise a lot of questions. It takes more than natural birth to Christian parents to make someone a true or born again Christian. It requires a second birth. So called Christians with false motives and with a poor testimony are the greatest enemies of the gospel and will suffer the greatest condemnation from man and God.One of the biggest problems a believer faces today is that one does not know whom to surrender, to the spirit or to the flesh, to God or to the world? Not knowing what to give the first priority? We all have the longing to spend time with God, to live for Him, to please Him. Don’t we? But do we really fulfill it? We can all say most of the times our flesh, our material desires win. We often tell no matter how hard I try I am not able to overcome my particular addiction, my anger, I don’t have a control over my emotions, my anxiety, my reactions to situations and toward people,I am unable to overcome my fleshly desires and so on. Yes, the Apostle Paul himself says in Romans 7:15 “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” It is a bitter truth. Isn’t it? We make resolutions, decisions and we say we will do anything for God but when we really come to do that, we do what seems easy. We try to fit in the world. We do what doesn’t separate us from the world. We know what is best for our personal and spiritual life but yet unable to do it.
Through this message I want to share about the people who live by the spirit versus people who live by the flesh. Please understand I am not talking about nonbelievers or the people of the world. But people who have received the gift of salvation or people who are washed by the blood of Jesus and have taken Baptism. Yet, are unable to live by the Spirit. This is God’s reminder for us. Sometimes we are so accustomed to doing wrong things that it doesn’t really bother us anymore. Right, isn’t it? We know about the wrong, but as we don’t see immediate consequences or punishment; we think that God has ignored it. To remind us God talks to us this way, if God convince you, be ready to receive, repent and correct it.Galatians 5:17 says “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.”
Do you know there are Carnal Christians? Do you know what a carnal person is like? A carnal person is a person who lives by the flesh and fleshly desires. They are always worried about what people think of them,so they wantto do everything to please them. Carnal Christian and Born again or Spiritual Christian both believe in the same Jesus as savior and the Lord but walking in different ways in their life. Carnal Christian is the one who is spiritually dead, disobedient Christian, walking in the flesh and will not live in truth.They even put God aside whereas the people who live by the spirit have a mindset of even if people take me wrong, or put me down I will make my God happy through my way of life, through my thoughts, my talks and my actions. Carnal people boast about their background, their achievements, their talents, their capabilities, their big houses, cars and they talk with pride. Whereas the people of the spirit take pride in their God, they always carry a humble and contrite spirit reminding them that whatever they are is just because of God and God’s grace alone. Carnal people always follow rituals and traditions of this world to ensure safety to fit into the world, to look good as if they are one of them whereas the people of the spirit live in the fear of God. Fear of God doesn’t mean the kind of fear that scares you and put you in constant fear but the heart that wants to please God. They live by prayer and cover their lives with the blood of Jesus. Carnal believers listen to and watch things that are inappropriate, and do things that are not right, yet they don’t feel anything. Their conscience never pricks them whereas spiritual people even if they do or watch such things accidently or unintentionally grieves them that grieve the spirit of the Lord. They repent and they do not want to go back to it again. Carnal believers live in hypocrisy, craftiness, deception whereas spiritual people live with integrity of heart and transparency inside and outside. Carnal believers give up soon; they get discouraged, depressed very easily and they harm themselves. Whereas the spiritual people though they face storms, though they are at the edge, they put their hope and faith in God. Take note, they continue their life, they don’t stop, they don’t give up, they face the situation calmly, they win and come out victorious. Carnal Christians always compare, they give room to sorrow and discontentment because of their comparison. While the spiritual believers are always thoughtful of how God thinks of them. Will God be pleased with my way of life? Carnal Christians are easily trapped into the lust of the flesh and end up to the temptation of the eyes whereas spiritual believers are careful not to grieve the spirit. They always want to have a clear conscience before God and before man. Carnal Christians spend away or waste away the time and money on what they eat, what they wear, the houses they construct or the vehicles they move around. A spiritual believer seeks first the God’s kingdom and His righteousness. Carnal Christian reacts how they feel, their emotions whereas the spiritual Christian lives by the truth, and the truth is Christ. Carnal Christian ignore God’s will, for temporary pleasures and satisfaction whereas a spiritual Christian convinces himself that no matter the pain, the hardship I will just do what God says. I will fulfill God’s plan for my life. Carnal Christian holds anger and grudge for days and years together. They always have unforgiving nature in their heart. They cannot forgive easily but spiritual Christians forgive quickly, they have a heart of forgiveness. A carnal Christian no matter how much they hurt others or talk against them, it does not prick their conscience a bit whereas a spiritual Christian if he has hurt someone his conscience pricks, the holy spirit convicts him, he repents and seeks forgiveness. Carnal Christian live in fear and anxiety whereas a spiritual Christian though faces fear, casts all his burdens on to the Lord and lives in confidenceevery single day. Let us examine if we are carnal Christian or a spiritual Christian?
Yes, it is hard to live as a true believer in this world. We can never do that on our own strength. Not only that the world will take us for granted, they talk small about us, they put us down but if you really love God and love to please Him, we will reap a harvest even if it is hard. Galatians 6:4-9 says “A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up”. Remember we will reap a harvest; we will definitely reap a harvest. Our God does not owe us anything, even if we do a tiny or small thing for His name sake, He will give us a hundred fold returns. 1 Peter 5:6 says “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” He delights in doing good for us. Did this ever occur to you all this while? I know of people who say they are filled with Holy Spirit yet say their flesh wins every single time. Then ask God to anoint you right now with the power of the Holy Spirit in every area of your life. Take His help, His strength, His leading and His will in your life. Do you realize we are set apart from the world, then how can we live like the rest of the world and expect the gifts and blessings of the spirit? Today God is asking you to make a decision. As Romans 14:8 says let us decide “If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.” In Philippians 1:21 Apostle Paul says “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Are you willing to live for Christ? Then crucify the works of the flesh. Christ said in Luke 9:23 “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Make note of what Jesus said- take up your cross daily and follow me. He said to take your cross daily not on alternative days, or not once in a while but daily. We need to crucify our anger daily, crucify our jealousy daily, and crucify our fleshly desires daily. Our greatest inspiration for this is none other than Apostle Paul. He was a roman citizen; he has studied under one of the great law teachers of that time named Gamaliel. He is from the Benjamin tribe, He was a Pharisee himself. Though he had a great background he counted it all as a loss for Christ. That is why he says in Philippians 3:8 “What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage that I may gain Christ.” Yes, everything else is worthless when compare it with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have discarded everythingelse counting it all worthless garbage so that I could gain Christ. Do you consider everything as garbage for the sake of Christ? Do you really understand that this world is like garbage because when we understand and receive Christ’s love in our lives, when we really love Him, we take everything else as a loss? Having Christ in our life is the greatest gain. Paul did not live by his achievements or in the pride of his education or family background but he was a living witness, lived an uncompromising life. We are no greater than the Apostle Paul. No matter how much we do, it doesn’t measure up for how much God has already done for us. Today God is asking you to stop living for the world, for your selfishness, for your own benefits. Let us all decide to live for Christ, there is not much time left, we are running out of time. We are in the last days; we are in the end days. Whatever God has put in your heart to do for Him, do it quick, you need to quicken the kingdom of God, hasten His coming. There is no time for us to enjoy and be merry. This is time where we as true believers, as spiritual people to build the kingdom of God. Are you ready to live for Him, no matter what the cost, no matter how hard it is, no matter how many people forsake you? Today God is asking you to live for Him, every single day, on a daily basis not once in a while, but everyday carry His cross and live for Him an uncompromising life for Him. Let us ask His spirit to strengthen us. God give you His grace to live in such a way.