Message – Steak ain’t for babies
Steak ain’t for babies
Last week it was initially my intention to just introduce the simple truth that those who are Spiritual have “ear to hear” what the Spirit says, and that those who are carnal (babies) do not.
Well, we DID do that, but we went a few places in more depth than I was expecting to go and as a result I left a few loose ends which need cleaning up.
Difference between the Mind and brain
If you remember, I illustrated how the mind and the brain are different. All by itself that is not that big of a deal, but because of the world we live in, the implications of the mind and the brain being the same turn the gospel (and what we are talking about right now especially) into a lie.
When we begin to adopt such materialistic views which run contrary to scripture we open ourselves up to a world of danger.
First and foremost we become a in that our faith begins to fall into that part of our lives which is immaterial and unsubstantive which has the effect of slowly eroding away at the value of our faith.
You can witness its loss of value in the lives of believers who are becoming more and more carnal. They begin to “believe” in word only. This becomes obvious when it comes time for action – such believers make what they call “real life” decisions, based upon non-Christian, materialistic beliefs.
This literally moves us from being Christians to practical agnostics.
We are CINOs – Christians in name only.
BE CERTAIN, THAT WHAT WE BELIEVE SHAPES OUR PERCEPTIONS AND CAN EITHER ENHANCE OR NEARLY DEADEN THE VOICE OF GOD’S SPIRIT IN OUR LIVES.
There is an immaterial soul and spirit and there is a physical body. These three are separate and independent things and the brain is PART of the physical body.
Further examining spiritual vs. carnal
Now that we have a better understanding of who is spiritual and who is carnal we are going to further examine the unfortunate truth that even Christians can be carnally minded. But the unbeliever is gridlocked into only being carnal.
Carnal man is the wording Paul employs in 1Corinthians 2, and those two English words are really one Greek word – psuchikós (G5591), which means psychic or soulish. For our purposes this is not terribly important, but for the sake of those who go a little deeper it can be misleading.
Paul is saying that a “soulish” man is a person whose entire focus is upon the natural world with its cares and desires rather than upon God.
As you know, the SOUL of mankind is comprised of the MIND, the WILL and the EMOTIONS.
As this illustrates, the intellect by all appearances is OUTSIDE of the physical brain and while emotions are seen in the brain, but there is evidence which points to their exterior origins as well.
If desires and emotions are products of the brain, then they just are what they are – but if you can decided to think, feel and desire differently and those decisions can be seen to begin rewiring the brain – then that points to an origin for desires and feelings which originate OUTSIDE of the physical brain and supports the notion that our SOUL which contains the Mind, the Will AND the Emotions are part of our immaterial self!
Paul ‘s Soulish man
Now, the soul is not destined to be evil – it can be focused upon anything.
If you recall, the scriptures encourage us to renew our minds, and James tells us to “receive the Word of God which is able to save our souls”. This all clearly states that our minds can change.
So the SOUL is not inherently evil and that is not what Paul was saying by calling a person who lives according to their flesh ‘SOULISH’. It is just that IF the mind is not deliberately placed upon Spiritual things, it WILL BY DEFAULT follow the natural world.
John tells us that “the world is leading down a road to destruction” – 1Jn. 2:15-17. So to have one’s mind set on the world is to set the course of their life towards destruction which comes from the flesh.
Remember the warning of Paul to the Galatians who also had a problem with this – he said,
“(7) Do not be deceived. God will not be made a fool. For a person will reap what he sows, (8) because the person who sows to his own flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit.
(9) So we must not grow weary in doing good, for in due time we will reap, if we do not give up.” ~ Gal. 6:7-9.
Upstream – downstream
So what we set our attention upon is VERY important! The unattended or lazy soul will by nature become increasingly more worldly. This is because, while we can deaden our souls against the Voice of the Spirit of God, our natural senses send us information 24/7, they have virtually unlimited access to our souls.
So to become spiritual minded one has to be deliberate about listening and sensitizing themselves to the voice of the Holy Spirit and to spiritual matters.
To use an analogy, if one wants to go upstream they HAVE to labor against the current. If we simply take our oars out of the water you will simply FIND yourself becoming more and more carnally minded.
Carnal mind / carnal man
Now, you may have noticed that I have been switching rather freely between the terms carnal man and carnal minded and here is the reason.
To be carnally minded IS to be a carnal person!
Turn with me to Romans 8:5-14,
“(5) For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. (6) For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (7) Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. (8) So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”
Do you remember the Jewish man I mentioned last week who in his social media presence, has taken Paul to task over the idea that the Old Testament foretold the death and resurrection of Messiah?
I told you this man was arrogant and does WHAT he does for the praise of man and that this pride has blinded his eye from seeing and hearing.
He IS carnally minded.
Carnal mind and faith
But Jesus made a connection between this and faith when He said,
“How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?” ~ John 5:44
So this carnal minded business is looking more and more serious all the time. Without being spiritually minded YOU CANNOT have faith!
Now let’s stop and reflect on what we’ve learned so far because they offer us clues as to who is spiritual and who is carnal – which also serves as a self-test to evaluate where we are as well!
The flesh ruled or carnal mind is set on earthly things, it is hostile against God, cares about the opinion and praise of man, in its arrogance to be praise or accepted it submits to human opinion, it is cavalier about the things of God and is often in disagreement with Him and is self-reliant and therefore does not trust God.
The Spiritually minded are set upon God, His word, they see Him even in nature, that mind is submitted to God, it is intimate with God (life) and is in agreement with Him (peace), and therefore trusts Him.
So wherever you see pride, arrogance, fear of man, preoccupation with the world’s opinion and a general lack of faith – you will have a carnal, flesh ruled person who is deaf to the Spirit of God.
On the contrary, wherever you see humility, submission to godly mandates and ideals, a deep desire to honor and please God coupled with growing and ongoing trust in Him – you will have a spiritual, Spirit–led person.
The Holy Spirit, being spiritual and faith
Because faith is part of this, it stands to reason that praying in the Holy Spirit is a key to sensitizing your heart (soul) to the Holy Spirit, because Jude tells us that praying in the Holy Spirit builds up our FAITH.
In fact, that whole thought of Jude in context addresses this topic very nicely.
“(17) But you, dear friends – recall the predictions foretold by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. (18) For they said to you, “In the end time there will come scoffers, propelled by their own ungodly desires. (19) These people are divisive, worldly, devoid of the Spirit.
(20) But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith, by praying in the Holy Spirit, (21) maintain yourselves in the love of God, while anticipating the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that brings eternal life.”
Now we JUST read in Romans 8 that to be Spiritually minded IS LIFE and peace.
What kind of life do you think Paul was referring to? Eternal!
So here Jude is telling us that we build ourselves up in our faith by praying in the Holy Spirit which keeps us in the love of God and causes us to anticipate the Mercy which leads to ETERNAL LIFE in Jesus our Lord!
You see it really is all connected!
Let’s finish what Romans says about this…
“(9) But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. (10) And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
(11) But if the Spirit of Him Who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He Who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit Who dwells in you.
(12) Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. (13) For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
(14) For as many as are habitually led by the Spirit of God, these are the mature or spiritual sons of God.”
God’s children ‘can’ be carnal
So here we see that a child of God has a choice.
We can be spiritual or carnal (to some limited degree).
Put another way, which I believe for us will be more clear and make more sense is, a child of God can be mature or immature even childish in the faith.
As such, if one’s MIND is focused predominantly or completely upon this natural world with its care and desires Paul calls them “carnally minded” and therefore unable to hear the Spirit.
Since the Holy Spirit is ANOTHER comforter/helper like Jesus was – then it makes sense that in Jesus’ parable of the heart soils that those who are preoccupied with this life will not even admit into their hearts God’s words (Wayside Heart).
Shallow Heart –
Those who are only about self promotion and self benefit will only listen to the degree that they feel that they will benefit from it, but if it costs them any fleshly thing or discomfort or threatens their reputation in the eyes of the world they will immediately walk away.
Weedy Heart –
Even those who receive God’s word, if they lose their focus and turn their attention towards the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches and desires for things other than God – God’s word will ultimately be choked out of them.
Now, we know that it is the Holy Spirit’s job to reveal truth or to reveal JESUS to us and Peter helps us along in our understanding of where the mind fits into all of this by saying,
1 Peter 1:13, “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
What does that grace empower us to do? Become like the Jesus we see!
Now, as I promised you last week, this week we are going to explore the differences between the spiritual or mature Christian and the carnal Christian (babies) in greater depth and with illustrations to help clarify.
1 Corinthians 3:
“(1) So, brothers and sisters, I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but instead as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.
(2) I fed you milk, not solid food (steak), for you were not yet ready.
In fact, you are still not ready, (3) for you are still influenced by the flesh.
For since there is still jealousy and dissension among you, are you not influenced by the flesh and behaving like unregenerate people?”
So the Corinthians were carnal Christians (babies)!
But notice the criteria. He says, “since there is still jealousy and dissension among you, are you not influenced by the flesh and behaving like unregenerate people?”
The writer of Hebrews makes the same observation, and though he uses different words he does make reference to milk being for babies.
“(11) On this topic we have much to say and it is difficult to explain, since you have BECOME sluggish in hearing.
(12) For though you should in fact be teachers by this time, you need someone to teach you again the beginning elements of God’s utterances.
You have gone back to needing milk, not solid food (steak).
(13) For everyone who lives on milk is inexperienced in the message of righteousness, because he is an infant. (14) But solid food (steak) is for the mature, whose perceptions are trained by practice to discern both good and evil.”
Peter also points to maturity and only consuming milk…
“(1) So get rid of all evil and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. (2) And yearn like newborn infants for pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up to salvation, (3) if you have experienced the Lord’s kindness.
(4) So as you come to Him, a living stone rejected by men but chosen and precious in God’s sight, (5) you yourselves, as living stones, are built up as a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood and to offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
(6) For it says in scripture, “Look, I lay in Zion a stone, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and whoever believes in Him will never be put to shame.”
(7) So you who believe see His value, but for those who do not believe, the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone , (8) and a stumbling-stone and a rock to trip over. They stumble because they disobey the Word, as they were destined to do.
(9) But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of His Own, so that you may proclaim the virtues of the one who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
(10) You once were not a people, but now you are God’s people.
You were shown no mercy, but now you have received mercy.
(11) Dear friends, I urge you as foreigners and exiles to keep away from fleshly desires that do battle against the soul, (12) and maintain good conduct among the non-Christians, so that though they now malign you as wrongdoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God when He appears.”
Galatians talks about this battle between the flesh and the soul.
Remember I told you earlier, that the Soul is not inherently evil. It is able to be influenced by either the Spirit OR the flesh.
Galatians 5:16-26 says it this way,
“(16) But I say, live by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh. (17) For the flesh has desires that are opposed to the Spirit, and the Spirit has desires that are opposed to the flesh, for these are in opposition to each other, so that you cannot do what you want.
(18) But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
(19) Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, depravity, (20) idolatry, sorcery, hostilities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish rivalries, dissensions, factions, (21) envying, murder, drunkenness, carousing, and similar things. I am warning you, as I had warned you before:
Those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God!
(22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (23) gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(24) Now those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
(25) If we live by the Spirit, let us also behave in accordance with the Spirit. (26) Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, being jealous of one another.”