When I begin to work on my blog each morning, i do a couple of things. Sometimes I will look for the definition of a key word. Today I did that for Carnality. It wasn’t much help. It means “worldly, earthly or relating to the physical.” Then I will do an image search using the same word. I got an eyeful when I did that with carnality. After reading and rereading OC, carnality reminds me of chewing gum, stuck on the sole of your shoe. Just when I think my walk is going pretty well, I get a reminder that I’m still pretty worldly. “Where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal . . . ?” —1 Corinthians 3:3 Maybe I’ll get involved in some “envy, strife and division” or maybe some temptation, thought long ago banished will return.
“The natural man, or unbeliever, knows nothing about carnality. The desires of the flesh warring against the Spirit, and the Spirit warring against the flesh, which began at rebirth, are what produce carnality and the awareness of it.” I think what OC is saying is that before salvation, these pieces of gum on our shoes don’t bother us. They seem to be just a part of life.
As an attorney I often find myself in situations where there is misrepresentation and dishonesty. When calling attention to this, the response is often “What’s the big deal” or “Everyone is doing it.” The point is when faced with these pieces of gum or “thorns” as Paul called them, we should probably rejoice. Ithey are signs of our new nature at war with our old. Thank God we have a new nature. But what do we do? How do we respond? “But Paul said, “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” ( Galatians 5:16 ). In other words, carnality will disappear.”
It seems that when we begin to walk other than “in the Spirit” these carnal items arise. They are warning signs that we are slipping off the track. The Spirit detects something not right. At this point, Satan often makes a move. He tells us we’re sinners. He tells us we haven’t changed. He drags up our past. He tells us we’re too weak to change. He tells us God could never love someone like us. It’s all a lie. It’s because He loves us that we can sense something is wrong. It’s because we’re changed that we even notice there’s a problem. And, best of all, God will fix it:
“If the Spirit of God detects anything in you that is wrong, He doesn’t ask you to make it right; He only asks you to accept the light of truth, and then He will make it right. 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.”
At some point, it seems we get past all this. Our walk is always in the Spirit. No thorns arise and no gum sticks to our shoes. “What is the proof that carnality has gone? Never deceive yourself; when carnality is gone you will know it-it is the most real thing you can imagine. And God will see to it that you have a number of opportunities to prove to yourself the miracle of His grace. The proof is in a very practical test. You will find yourself saying, “If this had happened before, I would have had the spirit of resentment!” And you will never cease to be the most amazed person on earth at what God has done for you on the inside.”
That point seems far away. The thorns are too frequent; the gum too sticky. I take consolation at each little victory. It is enough for now that this particular temptation didn’t get me this time. It is a blessing that this situation did not produce envy or strife. I know it might next time, but this time it didn’t and this time,
I am blessed.