At the end of the day, satan only has one weapon at his disposal: deception. And because your born-again spirit is just like Jesus’, he can only attack you on two of the three fronts of your being – your soul and your body.
You know, like God is tripartite – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – we have three parts as well: spirit, soul, and body. Each of these parts represents a discrete battleground and the devil is well aware that he cannot touch the born-again spirit because it is of the same substance as God.
The soul consists of four components: mind, will, intellect, and emotion. If you think of your soul as a “nation,” the mind would be its “capital.” In other words, the mind is the seat of the soul. If we look at this from a military perspective, the mind becomes the greatest battlefield in history.
The Bible tells us that we are not to be conformed to this world – that is, shaped by it – but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:2)
I have to point out here, that the suffix “-ing” suggests a reiterative process. Anytime you see “-ing” in scripture, it means to do it continuously. But I digress…
One of the key (and worst) ways we become conformed to the world is by accepting things from the devil as if they are from God. Sickness, natural disasters, poverty, oppression, and bondage are not from God.
However, the devil loves to have people – especially the saints – ascribe bad things to God. Even insurance and indemnity companies refer to calamities as “acts of God.” Why? Because submitting to calamity ensures you will not resist it! But you cannot resist the devil if you are not first submitted to God – and you cannot be submitted to God with an un-renewed mind!
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
Conformation takes place when external forces reshape us but transformation occurs when we are reshaped from within. As I mentioned earlier, the born-again spirit is re-created in the image of Christ…
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
That said, our objective must be to get our soul and our flesh aligned with our spirits – or at least get them going in the same direction!
One of the “churchenese” sayings is that of “Carnal Christians.” This is commonly used to describe “sinful Christians.” When I say “churchenese,” I’m speaking of those things that sound spiritual but have no real Biblical foundation. To that point, there is no such thing as a “sinful Christian;” you are either a sinner or saint – you can’t be both! Jesus said that we are to abide in Him and His Word is to abide in us (John 15:4-7), and if we abide in Him, we abide in sinlessness!
5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. 6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. (1 John 3:5-6)
Now, don’t get it twisted, I’m not saying that we cannot or do not sin – as long as we are in flesh, we are subject to worldly input. However, if we are led by our born-again spirits, quickened to righteousness, we do not set out to sin!
As for what is carnal, consider the following from Strong’s:
g4561. ???? sarx; probably from the base of 4563; flesh (as stripped of the skin), i. e. (strictly) the meat of an animal (as food), or (by extension) the body (as opposed to the soul (or spirit), or as the symbol of what is external, or as the means of kindred), or (by implication) human nature (with its frailties (physically or morally) and passions), or (specially), a human being (as such): — carnal (- ly, +- ly minded), flesh (- ly).
AV (151)- flesh 147, carnal 2, carnally minded +g5427 1, fleshly 1; flesh ( the soft substance of the living body, which covers the bones and is permeated with blood) of both man and beasts the body the body of a man used of natural or physical origin, generation or relationship born of natural generation the sensuous nature of man, ” the animal nature” without any suggestion of depravity the animal nature with cravings which incite to sin the physical nature of man as subject to suffering a living creature ( because possessed of a body of flesh) whether man or beast the flesh, denotes mere human nature, the earthly nature of man apart from divine influence, and therefore prone to sin and opposed to God
It is the same root word found in “chili con carne,” or “chili with meat.” A carnal minded is driven by the flesh. In other words, to be carnally minded is to be a meat-head! There are no meat-heads who are true Kingdom citizens!
And if you continue in “meat-headedness,” you will wind up being a “dead head!”
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, neither indeed can be. 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:6-8)
This is why renewing the mind is so important. Because you come into the world with input from your five natural senses, it is your natural inclination to trust that input. And without constant renewing (prayer, Word Study, fellowship) your mind will tend toward carnality.
Here’s the good news, though! Just like darkness is not the opposite of light – it is the absence of it, the carnal mind is not the opposite of the mind of Christ – it is the absence of it. In other words, the mind of Christ will displace your meat-headedness!
14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:14-16)
As part of the “believers’ benefits package,” if you will, we obtain the mind of Christ. That’s some good Gospel news! But, like any other benefit – natural or spiritual, you must appropriate it! It is only valuable if you use it! And you can only use it if you choose to:
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: (Philippians 2:5)
Did you catch that? Let=permit! Therefore we must permit the mind of Christ to displace the carnal mind – it is a choice! God is not a puppeteer and He will not force anything upon us. Just like God made every material resource available in the Garden of Eden for the first Adam, He has made every spiritual gift (in addition to the material, I might add) available through the last Adam (Jesus).
Now, to dovetail all this and drive the point home, if you don’t have the mind of Christ you cannot discern or access the things of God. And if you are operating as a “meat-head,” well, the devil is more than happy to provide the seasoning to prepare you for his devouring! Guarding your mind is essential because it is the gateway to your heart. And unless we get our mind lined up with the spirit, the rest of the soulish part of our being will follow the flesh. In this lifetime, we may not experience perfection with the alignment of our souls and flesh with our spirits. However, if we can get our minds aligned with our spirits – and get the rest of our soulish realm to fall in line – we get a two-on-one mismatch! I like those numbers…what about you?
© 2013 – Derrick Day (www.derrickday.com)