A common trend and yet a major problem in the church today is the carnality of Christians. Some believe it is due to not attending a doctrine driven church, even a dead church. The reality is that it comes down to personal commitment to God.
Let’s face it, Christianity is the one “religion” that requires a lot from the follower, in comparison to other religions. As Christians, we are commanded to pick up our cross, daily. Jesus tells us this in Luke 9:23, “Then Jesus said to all of them, “If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” It’s not a weekly exercise, but a daily one. By nature, we are selfish at heart and to deny pleasing ourselves, but instead pleasing others, is asking that we deny our very impulses. With that being said, many professing Christians have only put this into practice when convicted by a sermon or occasionally to get recognition from others or feel better about themselves, but God requires so much more! We can get pulled into the world and our past sinful nature so easily, especially when we are not rooted in God’s Word. By knowing exactly what Jesus requires of us, we will be able to stand when we are tempted or distracted.
So what does “Lord” actually mean? A dictionary defines it as “someone or something having power, authority, or influence; a master or ruler.” In the Hebrew, Lord is translated as Adonai, a title name of God that also means, “my Lord” and “Master” or “owner.” In Roman times, history tells us that there were slaves who were purchased and in submission, they would address their Masters as “Lord.” It was signifying that they had been bought at a price and were the property of that Master owner. Jesus, likewise, has purchased us by His blood. In I Corinthian’s 6:20, we read, “for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” When Paul wrote these words, people of that day clearly understood its meaning because slavery was very prevalent in those days.
Since we no longer own our own lives, we acknowledge that when we accept Christ as our Savior, we are also making Him our Lord and Master. Just as the Romans ruled over the life of the slave, so we are to submit to everything God says in His Word. In Luke 6:46 Jesus tells us,
“Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ but not do what I say?” If we say Jesus is our Lord, we should obey Him by actually doing what scripture says and not going with advice from non-believers that we know or work with. People love to give advice, but where are the intentions behind that advice? If it’s Biblical advice, we know that it is pleasing to God, so we should gladly take it and trust that He has only the best intentions for our lives. If it is from someone that doesn’t know Jesus, we shouldn’t take it because although some might be truly looking out for you, others will be used by Satan to take advantage of your emotions and spiritual vulnerability.
The condition of carnality in the Bible is the state of being lukewarm and wanting to please the world, self or people, while still pleasing God. In the book of Revelation, Jesus told John that there would be 7 different types of churches in the Last Days. One of them was the church type of Laodicea. Laodicea is now the modern city of Denizli, Turkey. It was a wealthy city during the Roman period because it was the center of banking and textile production.
The first Roman Emperor to pass a decree to be worshipped as “God” was Domitian. This law threatened Christians in Laodicea. As a result, Christians were faced with a form of persecution which stated they would not be allowed to buy or sell, unless they worshipped the image of Domitian. Since there were many wealthy Christians at this time, those Christian merchants depended heavily upon trade for their wealth. They were faced with having to choose wealth over poverty, Jesus or Domitian. In turn, many Laodicean Christians compromised their faith and chose their wealth. This act of disobedience is mentioned in Revelation 3:16, “so because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to vomit you out of my mouth!” These words are shocking and terrifying! The Lord Jesus is basically saying that such a person makes Him sick to His stomach! As Christians, we should always keep analyzing or walk with Him, making sure to never fall into this spiritual state of bankruptcy. Many deceive themselves that they are Christians, but let scripture reveal whether their talk lines up with their walk.
TEN WAYS TO AVOID BECOMING LUKEWARM AND CARNAL
1. Truly be committed to Jesus in thoughts, words and practice. “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:37
2. Choose whom you spend time with wisely. “Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” I Corinthians 15:33
“But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one.” I Corinthians 5:11
3. Spend time in prayer, daily. Jesus Himself spent time in prayer, , by making time and being alone with God, away from distractions.
“And in the morning, a great while before day, he rose and went out to a lonely place, and there he prayed.” Mark 1:35
4. Read your Bible daily. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” II Timothy 3:16-17
5. Guard your thoughts when you’re alone and as soon as negative thoughts start, stop yourself and pray. “Do not copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2
6. When you’re around close friends, guard your tongue. “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.” James 1:26
7. When you receive blessings from the Lord, guard your ego. ” The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.” Proverbs 16:5
8. Guard your behavior when you’re in a large group. “Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; an outsider, and not your own lips.” Proverbs 27:2
9. When you get angry, guard your temper. “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” James 1:19-20
10. When you have many troubles, guard your emotions. “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” Proverbs 25:28.
Jesus gave us His everything, if we claim to be Christians, shouldn’t we do the same? Pay it forward. Don’t be deceived, but know what scripture says so that you will get to know Jesus better and grow in your walk. Carnality is just self-deception because it makes one feel secure in oneself, but scripture asks us to search our hearts daily. He must be both Lord and Savior in our lives, the Savior part is about physical redemption, but the Lord part is about Spiritual freedom in Christ.