Carnal Spirituality Jn 3:6 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
Your flesh and your spirit are two entirely different and distinct parts of your being. Your flesh had its natural birth from your biological mother and father. Your spirit had its supernatural birth from the Spirit of God. When you die, your flesh is headed for the grave or the crematorium; your spirit is headed to God.
Christians get into real trouble when they blur the lines of distinction between the flesh and the spirit. They are inclined to put a spiritual twist on the flesh to make you think that they are spiritual when, in fact, they are carnal. This is carnal spirituality. The trouble is exacerbated when they can’t tell that they are pretending to be more spiritual than they are. It’s a deep-rooted problem when you can see it and they can’t.
Here’s how you can tell when you are dealing with carnal spirituality:
You accept visible “gods” as an aid to worship – Ex 32:1-6 – notice that Aaron made an image, built an altar, they held a feast, they made mention of the LORD and they offered offerings. This is the flesh’s way of expressing its feigned spirituality. The spirit doesn’t require or accept or do any of this stuff. God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
You regard noisy singing and dancing as godly worship – Ex 32:17-19 – the worship service out in the wilderness became more like a festival or a concert. It included loud, semi-intelligible music and dancing; and by the time the party was over, Aaron had made some of the people naked [v.25]. Suffice it to say that as this form of worship continued, more and more flesh was displayed. Likewise in the contemporary services of churches today we are seeing the same trends. That’s how you know that this kind of worship is of the flesh and not of the Spirit. Though you feel something that you mistakenly believe is the Spirit of God. It’s just the flesh pretending to be spiritual.
You give to ease your conscience before God and men – Acts 5:1-5 – Ananias and Sapphira gave a portion of the sale of some land to the apostles but they pretended that they were giving the total sale proceeds. They lied to the Holy Ghost and they lied to the church. Thus, their fleshly motive was revealed while they pretended to be as spiritual as Barnabas was [Acts 4:36-37]. Often, giving is used as an expression of spirituality to impress God and men; and giving may not be spiritual at all. Just look how much money is given to charity by many people who aren’t even saved.
You submit to a religious doctrine for righteousness – Gal 6:12-13 – there were preachers who came behind Paul in Galatia that constrained the people to be circumcised. They were trying to make a fair shew in their flesh to demonstrate their righteousness. This is just the flesh pretending to be spiritual. A typical scenario is the lofty spiritual claims of those who are members of cult religions. They attach an exclusive significance to baptism in their waters. Theirs is just a spiritual twist on the flesh. Sometimes there are those who point to their style of dress as a tribute to their spirituality.
You apply spiritual reasons to justify fleshly pursuits – 1 Sam 15:3, 20-21 – Saul was commanded by the Lord to destroy Amalek and all of their possessions. They killed all the people, saved the king alive and saved the best of the spoil. When Samuel confronted Saul concerning their disobedience, Saul answered that they kept the best of the spoil “to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God.” That was a lie to make their disobedience appear to have been motivated by a higher spiritual desire. You hear this kind of excuse from young singles who date the lost or who are driven by lust contrary to the will of God. They’ll say things like, “I am bringing him/her to church” or “I’m just trying to get him/her saved.” That’s the spiritual twist on the flesh. You want the person; you use the spiritual jargon to simply justify your fleshly involvement. Another good example is the excuse modern rock church organizers use for their entertainment that they call worship. They say that they are doing this to win lost souls to Jesus and to reach the unchurched [of course].
Conclusion: You know what you should do. You should get alone with God and become content with him. Then you should become so honest with him that you can see in yourself what he sees [Heb 4:12-13]. And then you should check yourself every time your flesh pretends to be spiritual in its fig leaves of Adam’s righteousness [Gen 3:7-8]. The only one you are fooling is yourself and anyone who is foolish enough to believe you.