THE DELIVERANCE MINISTRY
SPIRITUALITY VERSES CARNALITY
1 Corinthians 3:1 “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ.”
A spiritual Christian is a mature Christian, and a carnal Christian is one who does not have a clue as to what spirituality is really all about.
It is odd that in some church settings, spiritual Christians
are frowned upon as being way out there, out of the main stream, they are almost ashamed to acknowledge them, while their carnal counterparts or more worldly minded Christians are held with high regard for being more in touch with the reality of life, in their more balanced relationship with the world system.
Let’s face it, spiritual truths are always at odds with the physical realities. I see programs on TV all the time trying to explain biblical events, not just secular programs, some Christian shows as well, that try to make carnal sense of events that can only be interpreted through the eyes of faith in the word of God.
Paul’s complaint to the Corinthians is that he cannot address them with the meat of spiritual truth because they are like infants holding on to their baby bottles.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I like to know the mechanics of how things work more than anybody else, but I am humbled enough to know that while I am in this body of flesh, I am limited in my ability to fully understand spiritual mysteries. If I do not fully understand something, I am comfortable enough in my belief that it happened the way that God said it happened, and my faith does not require any further explanation.
1 Corinthians 3:2-3 “I fed you with milk and not solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal…”
Paul, while under his apostolic ministry and anointing, was privy to the revelation of the mysteries that had been hidden from the sages of old and was extremely eager to share those revelations that he had received with all his converts. But imagine his frustration with the inability of many of his converts to receive the revelation of those spiritual mysteries that he treasured.
2 Peter 3:15-16 “And consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable (carnal) people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.”
Peter himself acknowledges the gift that God had invested in the apostle Paul, and recognizes the fact that it takes spiritual maturity to receive the understanding of many of the mysteries that Paul was revealing in his teachings to the churches.
How does a carnal babe in Christ become a spiritually mature servant?
1 Corinthians 2:4-5 “And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”
The majority of Paul’s converts got saved by the demonstration of God’s Spirit and power moving in their midst as Paul preached to them, so that it was the supernatural manifestation of God’s power among them that confirmed the truth of what Paul was preaching to them, not human logic.
Now Paul is teaching them that in order for them to become spiritual they have to follow the same pattern, spirituality does not come through persuasive words of human wisdom, but rather through the manifestation of God’s Spirit and power, that in many instances defy human logic.
1 Corinthians 2:6-7 “However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in an mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory.”
The wisdom that makes us spiritual is like an encoded mystery that was deposited into our newly recreated born-again spirit-man when we got saved, which only the Holy Spirit can reveal or decode in those who through the agency of faith and trust in the word of God, will be able to receive and understand.
1 Corinthians 2:10-11 “But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the sprit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except (unless) the Spirit of God (reveals them to us).”
The spiritual mystery or quality that enables a believer to become spiritual or mature, has already been deposited into our recreated spirit-man, but the revelation or unlocking of those mysteries are left to the Spirit of God who searches the human spirit that dwells within our heart, to see if spiritual fruit it's been produced by our spirit.
1 Corinthians 3:3 “For you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you (works of the flesh), are you not carnal and behaving like mere (natural instead of spiritual) men?”
I am responsible before God for the kind of fruit that my spirit produces: Love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, meekness, faithfulness and self-control are all spiritual fruit, the more of that kind of fruit that my spirit produces, the greater the revelation of God’s wisdom that I will receive as it is unveiled through my heart by the Spirit of God.
Envy, strife, divisions, selfish ambitions, and the like, are all spiritual manifestations of the works of the flesh, the carnality that will hinder my heart from receiving the revelation that will allow me to become a mature, and victorious spiritual Christian.
So that I have a choice to make each and every day between peace and distress, love and hate, forgiveness and resentment. Am I going to be at peace in the face of distress? Am I going to love those who hate me? Am I going to forgive those whom I resent?
If I follow my natural inclinations that compel me to demand an eye for an eye, then the spiritual revelation that makes me wise in Christ is withheld from me, for my actions prevent the Holy Spirit from revealing them to me as He desires.
But if I summit myself to the words that our Lord taught us, His spiritual words that are my life, even when it absolutely makes no sense to me to do what He says, then the Holy Spirit is not hindered, and though I may not be ready to receive the understanding as to why I need to do what the Scriptures require, nevertheless, His healing balm will be applied to my soul and I will walk in His peace no matter what!
John 6:63 “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.”
There is a disconnect for many Christians between doing the right thing and doing the spiritual thing. Understanding the difference between doing that which is right and doing that which is spiritual can be an important factor that will help to lead us into maturity.
That is because our natural understanding of what the right thing to do is, has been tainted by our worldly perception. We sometimes confuse human goodness with God inspired spirituality. So that when we think we are doing the right thing that should make us more spiritual, instead we are being carnal and do not even know it.
Therein lies a trap that has diverted many well intended Christians from what had been a promising road to maturity, into the folly that Paul calls the wisdom of this age, by comparing or trying to understand spiritual things through the prism of human wisdom.
1 Corinthians 2:13-14 “These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural (carnal) man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
The more spiritual that a believer becomes, the more at odds that he will be with the wisdom of this world, and the difference between what the spiritual thing to do is, verses that which is the right thing to do, will become more obvious to the believer that matures spiritually.
A spiritually mature man will never be bound by the spirit of religion.
1 Corinthians 3:4 “For when one says, ‘I am of Paul,’ and another, ‘I am of Apollos,’ are you not carnal?”
When Rahab the prostitute was faced with the choice of doing the right thing and not lie to the soldiers that asked about the whereabouts of the spies that visited her, she chose to do the spiritual thing instead, and protected those who belonged to God by misleading the soldiers away from them.
By her actions she did not only save their lives, but she also saved her own life and the lives of her family and became part of Jesus ancestry.
To become a spiritually mature Christian is the same as that of being a slave that has been made free.
1 Corinthians 2:15 “But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.”
After all it is for freedom's sake that Christ has made us free!