“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as babes in Christ…for whereas there is among you envying and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” (1 Corinthians 3:1,3)
Through the years, I have heard the derogatory adjective “carnal” attributed to people, because of how they looked, where they did or did not go, or with whom they associated. This may be understandable considering we each have our own spiritual sensibilities. But in these later years, I am trying to discern between spiritual preferences and Spiritual precepts. It seems only reasonable to me to allow the Word of God to define sin. With that in mind, shall we take these two verses from the Apostle to see if we can get a handle on true carnality?
Immediately, from verse one, we know it is the opposite of spiritual, a mindset at cross-purposes with God; and the signal manifestation is immaturity, with only an infantile appreciation for matters of true importance. The man or woman with a carnal mind hasn’t a clue when it comes to enduring principles. Like a child, he or she simply lives in the moment, making “feel good” decisions that serve to make you look good without cramping your style too much.
There are three more characteristics in verse three that are a dead give-away to the carnal individual: envy, strife, and divisions. Who would not argue that we are living with a “choose up sides” mentality in the Church today? Many of us have so little spiritual discernment we must seek multiple endorsements before we can even tell if someone is truly a man or woman of God, then we sometimes cling to that individual with something that resembles the devotion of a New Age junkie to a guru.
But to bring it closer to home perhaps, the Christian man or woman who is constantly causing strife and/or division within a church, family, organization, or relationship bears the obvious mark of carnality. And as Paul indicates, such people cannot be reasoned with maturely, but must be treated as emotional babies, no matter how old they may be. As long as one displays these characteristics, he or she can, most assuredly, be considered carnal.
Sadly, it is possible to grow old without ever truly growing up.