YOU MIGHT BE ACTING CARNALLY AS A CHRISTIAN

YOU MIGHT BE ACTING CARNALLY AS A CHRISTIAN:       03-17 Glenn Harrell

 

: if the last time you read your bible was when you accidentally found it in a drawer and looked inside to see who it belonged to…

: if you interpreted “Love thy Neighbor” to mean inviting his wife over for a private tour of the old homestead…

: if your idea of gossip is– “I don’t repeat gossip–so I listen very carefully”…

: if the term “Safe Sex” has any other meaning than a wedding ring…

: if the offering you give to the church is smaller than the tip you leave your barber or hairdresser…

: if being unselfish means giving your broken and worn out toy to the kid in the wheelchair…

: if you are seeing the word carnal for the first time and you have been in the church for years…

: if the grinning, TV prosperity gospel preacher and his wife are real to you but the Mars Rover is fake…

: if you can quote Roberts Rules of Order, but you stumble and go blank quoting any of Jesus’ words…

: if your pew at church is a personal property right…

: if “I Did It My Way” is your theme song for church work…

: if you never worked in a church…

: if your personal testimony includes, height, weight, eye color and favorite desert …

: if the last prayer you uttered was, “Lord, please don’t let them Dawgs loose”…

: if the thought of confessing your sins causes you to break out in hives…

: if the last time you confessed your sins, the doctors didn’t know what hives was…

: if “TILL DEATH DO US PART” makes you imagine your mate going first…

: if you think the Apostles were a 50’s Motown Hit Band…

: if you will fight for the right carpet and lighting in your church building but shrug your shoulders when the deity of Christ is denied…

 

So you ask, “What is a carnal behavior?” It is an allegiance to the base and crude of life. There is no such thing as a “Carnal Christian” any more than a Baptist Christian, Methodist Christian, Mormon Christian, Catholic or Adventist Christian, straight or gay Christian, etc. Carnal is not a noun, it is an adjective. Carnal describes behavior available to Christians and non-Christians alike.

 

Acting Carnally as a Christian is Me When I am:

1- Acting like who I am not. I Corinthians 3:1-3

“My friends, you are acting like the people of this world. That’s why I could not speak to you as spiritual people.

You are like babies as far as your faith in Christ is concerned. So I had to treat you like babies and feed you milk. You could not take solid food, and you still cannot, because you are not yet spiritual. You are jealous and argue With each other. This proves that you are not spiritual and that you are acting like the people of this world.”  CEV

Remember the saying, “I can be so earthly that I am of no heavenly use, or so heavenly that I am of no earthly use.”

2- Relying on what cannot give life. Revelation 3:15-17

To the wealthy and complacent church of Laodicea, Jesus says, “I know everything you have done, and you are not cold or hot.

I wish you were either one or the other. But since you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spit you out of my mouth.

You claim to be rich and successful and to have everything you need. But you don’t know how bad off you are. You are pitiful, poor, blind and naked.”

Observe just how wealthy the American church has been. God blesses us until we deny Him and His Word.

We have been victims of our own selfish cravings. We have blended in with the world, trying to be the sugar and not the salt.

We have been absorbed by the darkness of this world as our light has flickered from compromise and unfaithfulness to God.

We have called God a liar and named the truth a lie as we not only act like the people of this world, we also prop them up as the new savior. Our bibles are carefully edited so as not to offend the very world we are called to evangelize. We are “pitiful, poor, blind and naked”. “We don’t know how bad off we are.”

 

3- Living for the temporal and denying the eternal. I John 2:16

When I am carnal in my existence as a Christian, I chose to remain connected and intimate with the part of myself that finds refuge, hope, fun and meaning exclusively in what this passing world affords. I live for passions and pleasures as if they have any hope of truly satisfying. When I am “acting like the people of this world”, I am a chameleon, virtually indistinguishable from them. I am as the unfaithful partner in a love affair. I feel as if God has left me, not because this is true, but because this is how an unfaithful lover feels naturally. Of will and choice, I chose to refrain from most all activities that cause me to confront the truth I know within. Passions, pleasures, money, power and fame are not wrong or evil. They are all good until I decide that they will define my existence, or until I love them more than I love God. Like Adam and Eve, I find myself avoiding God, His Word and His people.

 

“Our foolish pride comes from this world, and so do our selfish desires,

and our desire to have everything we see. None of this comes from the Father.

The world and the desires it causes are disappearing.” (I John 2:16-17)

4- Always fearful that I am not saved.

I can carry on so long in carnal fashion that I lose track of time and eternity. I can live for myself and the grabbing of gusto only so long before such a life wears thin and feels hollow. A person can be saved, become a child of God, only once. After that, it is a matter of what kind of child, not whether he is one. So, the important thing is to go back to a time when faith and trust in Christ was a matter of repentance and belief. Belief, not just IN Jesus (the devil believes in Jesus) but ON him. This is called “new birth”.

Re-read John chapter 3 for yourself and connect with what Jesus says about belonging, physical and spiritual birth.

5- Confused

A Christian person can act carnally while the natural man, unbeliever, never knows this distinctive battle of flesh and Spirit.

The truth is that every Christian has pockets of unbelief and carnality at many stages in life as described in the bible here.

Many churches are ripped apart, not by outsiders, but by professing Christians inside who are carnally minded. Symptoms include:

Anger, resentfulness, malice, argumentative, jealous, judgmental, divisive, sensual and crude living that is out of control.

Churches who are led by a dominance of such individuals have no hope of effectiveness as Christs’ Bride. They die a carnal death.

 

“If you are guided by the Spirit, you won’t obey your selfish desires. The Spirit and your desires are enemies of each other. They are always fighting each other and keeping you from doing what you feel you should. But if you obey the Spirit, the Law of Moses has no control over you.” Galatians 5:16

 

But what if? What if you are not merely acting carnally as a Christian? What if you are lost and not saved?

Are you “acting like people of this world”, or ARE YOU a people of this world? Are you confused yet?

 

Confused but willing to take a test. Do a self-exam.

 –Look for the presence of Christ Within       II Corinthians 13:5

“Test yourselves and find our if you really are true to your faith. If you pass the test, you will discover that Christ is living in you.

 But if Christ isn’t living in you, you have failed.”

 

–Look for the witness of the Spirit within     Romans 8:14-17

“Only those people who are led by God’s Spirit are his children. God’s Spirit doesn’t make us slaves who are afraid of him. Instead, we become his children and call him our Father. God’s Spirit makes us sure that we are his children. His Spirit lets us know that together with Christ we will be given what God has promised. We will also share in the glory of Christ, because we have suffered with him.”  

                                                                                                                                                                                                             

“A child of the light will confess sin instantly and stand completely open before God. But a child of the darkness will say,

“Oh, I can explain that.” When the light shines and the Spirit brings conviction of sin, be a child of the light. Confess your wrongdoing,

and God will deal with it. If, however, you try to vindicate yourself, you prove yourself to be a child of the darkness.”   Oswald Chambers

 

–Belong to the Good Shepherd and know His voice.                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Please Note: There is no denominational litmus test for being a Christian, carnal or otherwise, and having eternity in heaven. If you are relying on a denominational association to define your position with God and or to define your eternal security, be assured that when you and I stand/kneel before Christ, He will not ask us if we are Protestant, Catholic, Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness, Buddhist, Shinto, Islam or any other group. He will want to know what gate we entered. Please read John chapter 10 in your bible.

Christian denominations are like the “hired workers” for the sheep. (followers of Christ) They are not the gate as they so often imply.

If any of these leaders attempt to preach another gospel that presents any gate other than Christ Himself, they are thieves come to “rob, kill and destroy”. They don’t own the sheep, and when they see a wolf coming, they run off and leave the sheep.” (v.12)

 

“Jesus said, “I tell you for certain that I am the gate for the sheep. Everyone who came before me was a thief or a robber, and the sheep did not listen to any of them. I am the gate. All who come in through me will be saved. Through me they will come and go and find pasture.” (vv. 1-9)

 

Still confused? Eternal life is not about belonging to a certain church group or joining a religion. It is about having the Son. (or not)

“God has also said that He gave us eternal life and that this life comes to us from His Son.

 And so, if we have God’s Son, we have this life. But if we don’t have the Son, we don’t have this life.” I John 5:11-12

 

So then, being a Christian who is carnal and acting like the people of this world can and will happen to every believer seeking to follow and obey Jesus Christ. If, however, I discover through testing that I am not a Christian, I need to contend with belief and faith in Christ—my willingness to repent (turn around) of my unbelief and sin. If I have done this but am acting like Christ is not within me when He really is, then I have but to remember my faith, listen to His voice, read His Word and follow the Spirit. God does not allow His children to live a consistent pattern of carnality without applying discipline. (Hebrews 12) He means for us to grow up and to mature. Begin with this verse in I John, but don’t stop here. Get involved in a good bible study group. Worship and serve in a local church alongside others who are as equally imperfect, yet eager to grow, as yourself. Plant some anti-carnal roots!

 

“You have accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord. Now keep on following Him.

Plant your roots in Christ and let Him be the foundation for your life.

Be strong in your faith, just as you were taught. And be grateful.” Colossians 2:6-7

MORE–YOU MIGHT BE ACTING CARNALLY AS A CHRISTIAN…

 

: if you think Jesus looks good in velvet…

: if you prefer your pastor in leather…

: if your make up brand is Sherwin Williams…

: if your fashion designer also works for Miley Cyrus…

: if you prefer a “praise me band” performance over personal prayer and piety in worship…

: if you hold up an old church fan with a number from 1 to 10 after the Praise Me Band performs…

: if your leader in worship signs an autograph for you after the “concert”, you both might be carnal Christians…

: if your fashion statement at worship is the same as in your Stump Removal Business…

: if your fashion statement for worship is the same as a night at the Oscars…

: if the wall color of the church sanctuary has changed twice since you last attended…

: if carpet color choice/demand rates up there with the immaculate conception…

: if the last time you shared your faith with someone was when you were baptized…

: if your idea of Christian charity is donating your old shoes, trousers and that green and mustard couch from 1965 to the missions committee at church…

: if you blame your road rage on the Nascar Association…

: if you memorized the carburetor repair manual and can’t name more than ten books in the bible…

: if you drive a new Mercedes and the church van is a 1975 Econoline…

: if you still haven’t forgiven the ice cream truck man for not stopping when you were 6…

: if you take more money out of the Sunday offering plate than you put in…

: if you ask the Sunday visitor for their last two years tax returns…

: if you readily accept marriage advice from The View…

: if you love the sin but hate the sinner…

: if you still refer your friends to your astrologist…

: if “Jesus is just alright, O yea.”…

: if all your friends are in low places…

: if you gave more to the “Save the Kickapoo Trail Restoration Fund” than your own church…

: if the number of times you attended a bible study last year matches your shoe size…

: if prayer in your home is as rare as the “Northern Hairy Nosed Wombat…

: if prayer in your personal life is as rare as an Obama Support Rally sponsored by Fox News…

: if CNN is your go-to source for theological truth.

: if your cat is less afraid of a visit from the preacher than you…

: if the Energizer Bunny reminds you to buy your wife an Easter card…

: if you keep smoking to get to heaven sooner…

: if you need more faith to believe in a literal ARK than winning the Powerball Lottery…

: if you are 190 pounds, can bench 300 and fear no man or beast, but wither in the face of moral courage…

: if you make regular visits to the corn, flour, wheat and rumor mills…

: if your annual Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms bill can support two Nigerian tribes…

: if your pets know your shoe size…

: if your children have to wear name tags…

: if you hold that Santa was one of the 4 wise men

: if you search for “Stairway to Heaven” in your hymnal…

: if your palm reader is also your babysitter…

: if your love for others requires they see you when they gaze in their own mirror…

: if you drag the Joneses  down to your level…

: if your neighbors name is Old Watchamacallit…

: if you fear a tax audit more than you fear God…

: if you know your broker better than your wife…

: if your broker knows your wife better than you…

: if the two things people don’t like about you are your face…

: if the Jerry Springer Show is your primary social outlet…

: if your evening starts out with, “Hi, my name is_________” at the Face Book Anonymous meeting

: if your gaming log hour collective is greater than the time it took to write the Old testament…

 

Glenn W. Harrell openhandspublications.com  3-2017

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