Let’s pretend we are in school again. Do you remember when we were given lists of words each week and had to learn what they meant and how to spell them and use them in sentences? Then we would be quizzed at the end of the week. Well that’s the way it worked at my school at least. So I am going to give you a word: carnal. So the first step in our learning process: What does “carnal” mean? Looking it up in the dictionary online we learn these definitions:
1. Relating to the physical and especially sexual appetites: carnal desire.
2. Worldly or earthly; temporal: the carnal world.
3. Of or relating to the body or flesh; bodily: carnal remains.
(At the end of each definition we see another one of our steps. We see the word used in a phrase or sentence structure to help us gain a better understanding)
In our later years in school we might take the word and actually do a deeper a study on it. We might do an analysis or write a report about the subject. We might learn that being carnal would mean we are focused on things of this world or things that pertain to our body. We are caught up in self-pleasure, whether that is through sexual activities, gaining fame, or gaining fortune, etc. We are in to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes or the pride of one’s lifestyle (I John 2:16). We may analyze what we personally are doing in our lives (that involves these things) or we may look at what our friends are doing. We might notice that our music is centered on things like getting a lover or admiring how physically attractive someone is to us. Or it might be a song about cheating on our spouse. We might take a look at our magazines and realize that the ads and articles focus on how we can look better or how we can improve our home to fit in to the latest trends. After all we don’t want to be out of style in any area of life. We need the latest clothes and gadgets. We might see a movie and realize that there were at least two vivid sex scenes in it and the plot focused around stealing fast cars. We decide to play “Sims” or some other video game and realize it focuses on building our empire, having sex or violently killing people. We watch the news and notice that almost every report contains something bad. Thinking about it further we realize we haven’t been in our Bibles all week. We have been caught up in our jobs or our kid’s baseball games. When all our research is done, our school report might come up showing that we have been being pretty carnal, even when we thought we were being a descent Christian person.
The Apostle Paul gave the church in Colosse some good common sense wisdom in Colossians 3: 1-10:
1 So if you have been raised with the Messiah, seek what is above, where the Messiah is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with the Messiah in God. 4 When the Messiah, who is your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. 5 Therefore, put to death whatever in you is worldly: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, God’s wrath comes on the disobedient, 7 and you once walked in these things when you were living in them. 8 But now you must also put away all the following: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his practices 10 and have put on the new man, who is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of his Creator.
If we have received Christ, we are to have put on a “new man”. It is like taking off a dirty shirt and putting on a clean one. It is just common sense that we should want to live a new life. Therefore we need to remove those things that are spotting our clothes. We need to focus on what keeps us clean. If we are busy being carnal, then we are not letting Christ be Lord of our lives. We are not being that “new man” He intended us to be. Most of us receive Christ when we come to a place that we realize that we are in sin and that our lives are not what they should be. Therefore, why do we keep wallowing in the mud? Common sense would dictate that we get out of the pig pen full of mud that is messing up our clothes. We need to realize that we have a new life to find that is hidden in Christ. He didn’t hide it in the mud we just came from. It is hidden in Him. And where is He? He is seated at the right hand of God in Heaven. We need to look above. We spend too much time looking to what is here on this earth with us. We should pay attention to what we read, watch and listen to. Are these things godly? Are we spending time with God and in His Word or are we too busy to even make time for Him? Do we need all the latest gadgets or do we need to help someone in need? Do we need to look that good or can we spend our money on something needed for the work in the Kingdom of God? Are we thinking about things above or things that are here on earth? Where is our focus? Remember it is not carnality, but Christ now!