CARNAL MINDEDNESS

BY: JOHN R. GAVAZZONI

MARCH 16, 2013

 

How did carnal mindedness come to exist and why? While sitting at my keyboard waiting on the Lord for what He wanted to say on the subject, the thought came to me, "you know, a person could write about carnal mindedness from carnal mindedness." 'Cause the carnal mind is a tricky thing. For one, it loves to convince us that its existence traces to a willful determination originating with us, thus it seduces us into thinking that we can determine---by means of some God-given formula for successful Christian living---that we ought to be able to get rid of it. Many, indeed, are the various forms made available for our trying----and trying, and trying, and trying. 

 

Carnal mindedness is down-right contrary. If it was a person, we'd say, "he's a contrary cuss, that fella is." Yep, if carnal mindedness is anything, it is contrary. Contrary to righteousness, peace and joy, as a starter. It breathes contrariness. Its very nature is oppositional. It decided long ago that it has a perfect right to be resentful, all the while hiding from itself, Who it is that it resents. Amazing. Carnal thinking is resentment-filled enmity toward "Him, with Whom we have to do." But, you know, that's the way it's supposed to be. It's meant to exist exactly like that with a greater meant-to-be in view. Let the reader contemplate Who has meant it to be the way it is. Without going into a long theological treatise on the subject, I'll just say for now, that we'll finally discover that the contrariness of carnal mindedness was necessary for spiritual mindedness to be all that it is. Spiritual mindedness has a forward-leaning posture about it, created by having to lean into the contrarian wind of carnal mindedness. "Brethren, THINK it all joy, when you are tempted..."

 

The trickiness of carnal mindedness includes nagging us with the thought that our thinking shouldn't be bothered at all by thoughts full of contrariety. God, Himself, initiated the conundrum of the flesh lusting against the Spirit, and the Spirit lusting against the flesh. That devil is God's devil that He put in His garden. Carnal mindedness exists because God determined its existence and its purpose. And God doesn't purpose anything, without that thing contributing to joy unspeakable, and full of glory. How'd He do it? How did He bring it into existence? BIG question. I can't answer it fully, but I have been given grace to see this much: Going way back there in the Garden of Eden, God showed Himself to Adam and Eve as God. Romans chapter one, tells us that they knew Him as God. The purpose-serving problem, though, is that He didn't show Himself to them as their Father. If you only know God as God, you're automatically set up to resent Him.

 

Though they knew Him as God, they worshipped Him not as God. Why? Worship, is about WORTHship, and we only come to know God's worth, when we come to know Him as our passionately loving Heavenly Father. Until then, the notion of an All-controlling Deity breeds resentment, which issues forth in rebellion. Worship, worth, and work, all come from a common Hebrew root. Paul, the apostle, testified of God working mightily in Him. God mightily revealed to Paul that He was head-over-heels in love with him. That will move a man. That will energize a man. When the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, we'll cross any river, climb any mountain, face any terror knowing that Perfect Love is behind, and in fact IS, the command to do so.

 

One final thing about carnal mindedness: Has it occurred to you that it is your carnally-minded self THAT God reconciled to Himself by the death of Christ? Christ didn't die to reconcile our friendliness toward Him---well, duh? It's the enmity of our resentment toward Him that is reconciled. Enemies, actively engaged in their enmity, are the object of Christ's atonement. I dare say that God is friendly toward your resentful enmity. That's how He reconciles us. He remains the never-changing friend of resentment-filled sinners. God loves His ENEMIES, the enemies made such by their carnal mindedness. God's not mad at your carnal mindedness. It's a wonderful challenge for the immutability of His conciliating nature.

 

 

 

CARNAL MINDEDNESS [John R. Gavazzoni] 3-17-13          1

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