Are You a Carnal Christian?

By   •   September 13, 2010

Does that describe you? If so, would you like to change?

There was a time, perhaps, when you were a spiritual Christian. You still had your first love; a fire burned in your heart for God. But something has happened along the way, something has disturbed your relationship with God, and you no longer know the joy, the peace and the thrill that you once knew.

You do not take time to read your Bible. Your prayer times are few. Your interest in spiritual things has waned, and yet there is a great hungering after God, an aching in your soul for the joy and victory that you have seen in the lives of others. You want that joy in your soul, that thrill in your heart. You want to know the power of prayer again.

The Bible teaches that you can have glorious, daily victory. Scripture says, “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace” (Romans 6:14). Paul wrote in Romans 7:24-25, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” And then he answered his own question, “I thank God–through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 7:25).

In Romans 8:2 we read, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” And in 1 Corinthians 15:57, “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

From the divine viewpoint, defeated Christians are abnormal. They are paralyzed members of the Body of Christ. Backsliding and carnality are not only inexcusable, they are incompatible with the normal Christian experience. They produce a regime of contradiction. Since the living Christ dwells within every one of us who has accepted Him as Savior, there is never any reason for defeat. No enemy is too powerful for Christ! Every temptation may be resisted!

If you as a Christian are overcome by the enemy, the simple explanation is that Christ has been denied His rightful position of supremacy in your heart. The dethronement of Christ will always lead to failure in spiritual warfare. It is Christ, and Christ alone, who can give you a constant, daily, victorious life.

Know Your Three Enemies

However, the Bible teaches that every Christian has three enemies. The first enemy that we have to contend with is the world. Now “the world” means this present evil world, the great system of evil round about us. It is everything around us that has a tendency to lead us into sin. It may mean the evil people of the world, or it may mean the things of the world.

Certain elements of daily life are not sinful in themselves, but they can lead to sin if they are abused. Abuse literally means “extreme use,” and in many instances, overuse of lawful things becomes sin. Thinking about the necessities of life and taking care of one’s family is essential. But this can degenerate into anxiety, and then, as Christ reminded us, the cares of this life choke the spiritual seed in the heart (Mark 4:19). Making money is necessary for daily living. But money-making is apt to degenerate into money-loving, and then the deceitfulness of riches enters and spoils our spiritual life. The Bible admonishes, “Do not love the world or the things in the world” (1 John 2:15).

The second enemy of the Christian is the flesh. Paul said, “I know that in me [that is, in my flesh] nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find” (Romans 7:18). The Bible teaches that the flesh is fallen human nature. It is the corrupt principle of sin, the carnal nature that natural men and women have inherited from their fallen parents. It is the birthplace of all those ugly sins that so easily mar the Christian’s joy and hinder his or her testimony. The sins of temper, irritability, moodiness, jealousy, pride, selfishness, an unforgiving spirit, anxiety and fretfulness, harshness, complaining, criticism, lust–all of these things characterize the flesh.

The third enemy of the Christian is the devil, referred to by Paul as “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2). The Bible teaches that the devil is a real person. His objective is to defeat the will of God in the world, the church and the Christian. He is the unceasing enemy of the soul. He must be met and overcome. Thank God, through the victory of Jesus Christ on the cross, this mighty enemy has been fully and finally vanquished. One day the whole world will see the full consummation of Christ’s triumph. Meanwhile, Satan is busy in the world, sometimes appearing as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14), and other times as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).

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These, then, are our three foes: the world, the flesh and the devil. The attitude of the Christian to all three of them is summed up in one word: renounce. There must be no bargaining, no compromise, no hesitation. Absolute renunciation is the only possible way for the Christian to have victory in life. If you are a Christian, there is no excuse for not having daily victory in your life by renouncing sin and, by faith, letting the Spirit of God have control of your life.

Condensed from the article “Victorious Christian Living” in the May 2007 issue of Decision Magazine.
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  1. Anitha says:

    This article really spoke to me. I'm really undergoing such a situation in my life. I'm desperately in need of your prayer support. God bless you and your ministry.

  2. Freddie says:

    I thank God everyday for your ministry and ask his blessings on your ministry as well as all the ministers that are spreading his gospel. It almost took a lifetime, but I know there is only one way and that is through Jesus Christ! Without God's mercy, love, forgiveness and grace, I know that the world is doomed. I thank God that he loved me more than I loved myself and I pray for each and every person that has posted here and I ask your prayers for me. God Bless you and your ministry and all that listen and receive it.

  3. Charles says:

    Amen!!!!! God's Will be done!!!

  4. Duncan says:

    Hallelujah..what a solid, practical, needed, today word. Really makes us appreciate the Good Lord. Although, maybe a bit challenging..yet very encouraging and and being able to read it with open eyes and not self-centeredness, it also opens us up to what others are working through. I have to add..I don't know what 'christian's' (9.14.2010 704pm) issue is!!! Talks about not being 'judgemental'..hello pal, read your own words!!! ''I trace my salvation to Billy Graham''…maybe that's the issue…trace it to Jesus…Billy was just the instrument at the time, if it wasn't him I believe you would blame someone else. Focus on the Lord, not others and you might find YOURSELF more available and effective for Him. We are ALL imperfect people in an imperfect world. It's all about Grace, love and the Lord.

  5. Gaby says:

    Thank You Billy Graham- and Son-I needed to hear this over and over again-especially in this world we live in, its hard to find peace-and to concentrate what is really important-GOD..

  6. Chris says:

    This is very helpful to me. I've been wandering where I goofed up — All over the place. I have a lot of work to do. I think this information will be a good start to get back to God's way. Thank you so much for relighting the candle of my spirit.

  7. Jackie says:

    I wish I could say that I am going to turn my life around right now. But I would only be lying. I struggle with anger, bitterness, control issues, I love to go to the casino, and I am bitter towards the church because of what it has allowed itself to become ( a sideshow) I am single and have been for 4 years now. I do miss Christ in my life ….. but am in a state of mind that I just don't really feel anything. Please Pray for me! My name is Jackie!

  8. Patti says:

    I suffer from depression and need your prayers. As I am often in the blues, not much joy in my life these days. At one time in my life I walked fully with the lord. But it seems these days I can't seem to get myself out of depression. No matter how I pray it still remains. So why is my life this way,when I try to walk with God? Have no christian friends to speak of. They are all gone these days.

  9. sheron says:

    I HAVE given my life and my heart to the Lord. I pray and read my bible. I LOVE the Lord. But i STILL have outbursts of anger! I don't want to be what the Lord calls 'lukewarm'. I also have unclean thoughts. I renounce sin-I don't want it. NOW WHAT???!!

  10. Jeannette says:

    It is very easy to get trap in the devil games…….I love the lord, but have been away from church for some times and moved to another state…..I started doing things that i never did when i was in church. Not long ago I realize I was getting trapped so i asked for forgiveness to my family and humbled to my Lord, since then….the peace and Joy of the Lord has come back to me….i just need to find a good church to serve him again.