When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden of Eden, their spirit
light instantly went out.They saw their
flesh for the first time.Since then,
all of their descendants, including you and me only see the flesh – that is,
until we become born again of the Spirit of God.Even then, it takes growing up in the Spirit
before we can know truth and the things of God.
There are basically three types of persons in regard to
spiritual maturity:natural man, carnal
man and spiritual man.Natural man is an
unbeliever that is not born again of the Spirit of God.Carnal man is a believer that has received a
new heart, a new spirit and the Holy Spirit, but has not yet grown into
spiritual maturity in Jesus Christ.
Natural man cannot know the things of God.“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.”1 Co. 2:14.When one
becomes a follower of Jesus Christ, he is still immature in the Spirit and has
not yet learned to walk the way of the Spirit.The apostle Paul said:
I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal,
even as unto babes in Christ.I have fed
you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it,
neither yet now are ye able.For ye are
yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions,
are ye not carnal, and walk as men?1
They are called carnal Christians.
In these end times, it is vital that we grow up into
spiritual maturity.Only the spiritually
mature have a chance of surviving until Jesus comes back or of making it into
God’s true church and end-time army.Worse,
the immature will most probably fall away from the faith because they cannot
stand against the stresses and pressures put upon Christianity.The persecution by the One-World Government
and One-World Religion will be immense and intense.
End times or not, the apostle Paul made it clear that the
flesh leads to death and the Spirit to life.Ro. 8:1-4.How can you tell if a
person is spiritually mature?Paul said,
“For they that are after the flesh do
mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of
the Spirit.For to be carnally minded is
death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”Ro. 8:5-6.
What did Paul mean when he said, “they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; . . .
.”?What are the signs that one is
walking after the flesh?To answer that
question, we must go back to the garden of Eden.
When Adam and Eve saw their flesh for the first time, it
still did not occur to them that death was imminent and that they were not
gods.They were so thoroughly deceived
that they probably saw their flesh as another form of god.They never repented.After all, why should one god repent to
Adam and Eve identified with their flesh; that is to say,
Self is the flesh and vice versa.Therefore, flesh was their god form.Self began to see the flesh as one with Self and worthy of its undivided
attention and worship.
The Self only loves self and the flesh, which it identifies
with.Self thinks it is God; therefore, Self
serves the flesh and its many lusts.So
long as we are tied to the flesh, we love Self and flesh more than we love God.
The heart is so deceitful and cunning that it fools
itself.It thinks that it loves God and
neighbor, but it is only a façade and pretense.The heart will not easily give up the throne
in your heart.As Jesus said, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their
mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.”Mt. 15:8.We only give lip service to love.We have become experts at lying.The
truth is, we love ourselves far more than we love God or our fellow man.As descendants of Adam and Eve, we just pretend
that we are holy and spiritually mature.We spout scriptures all the time, pray and fast, but never really love God
or walk in the Spirit.If we have gifts
of the Spirit, we use them to promote our self-image and agendas.Our hearts are wicked still.God and Church take second place to
Self.Self and its desires still come
first in our hearts.
Most Christians are so full of themselves that there is no
room for God in their lives.They come
to church on Sunday morning and that is it for the week.They merely practice their Christian “act”
for a few hours.I recently watched a
television documentary about a young woman that was born and raised in America and
became a Muslim.She explained that
Christians only worship and live the life of a Christian on Sunday mornings for
a few hours, but Muslims pray five times a day, wear clothes that constantly
remind them of their religion.She liked
that.Most Christians won’t give even
ten percent of their time to God or Christianity.
We can pretend, but the heart doesn’t change much.It is so cunning that it has built up and
maintained an act worthy of an Academy Award from Hollywood.We even convince ourselves that we are somebody.The truth is that we are not gods.We are nobody.We cannot even add one second to our life
span.We have no control over our
life.We can be walking on the sidewalk
and thinking of what we are going to eat that night and a truck with a drunk driver
can kill you the next second.Yet, we
act as if we are gods.
The Self only obeys self.It benefits Self to be admired and recognized as a good Christian even
though it is only a facade.Therefore,
it will pretend to be holy and righteous, but at home the truth comes out.I have dropped in unannounced at homes of
good Christians, only to hear them yell and swear at their family.I used to admire a woman in church that could
recite long and magnificent prayers in public.One morning, I came to church early and walked towards the back parking
lot.She was yelling and using profanity
at her young children in the car.
To maintain its lies and pretenses, Self goes to church,
pays tithes, spouts scriptures, smiles lovingly and acts holy. The heart is so deceitful that it will give
false appearances to fool everyone, including itself.
Self will come to church and serve God, but it will not obey
or serve God beyond what is comfortable for Self.
Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into
the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.And there came a certain poor widow, and she
therein two mites, which make a farthing.And He called unto Him His disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say
unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast
into the treasury: for all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her
want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.Mk. 12:41-44.
The widow gave her all to God.She had no more money to live on.She didn’t have money left to buy food,
medicines or clothes.She trusted in
God.Rest assured that God took good
care of her.
Self only trusts the flesh for anything to do with survival
or having the good life.Flesh loves the
good life and will not surrender voluntarily any amount of money, possessions
or time that will impinge on that wonderful life.Of course, everyone has his own limits.Some will give more, but still hold back
something just in case.“Some trust in chariots, and some in horses:
but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.”Ps. 20:6.God calls Himself “Jehovah Jireh” the provider.Those that do not trust God for their welfare
and life trust in their own right arm for their life and provisions.They are untrustworthy and can only be used
sparingly by God.God knows that when
their good life is threatened, they will pull back and disobey Him.Self trusts the flesh more than God.It desires the good life for itself.
That is why Jesus said, “No
man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other;
or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”Mt. 6:24.He goes on to say that the Father in heaven knows all of our needs and
will provide them.
take no thought saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or,
Wherewithal shall we be clothed?. . .
But seek ye first the kingdom
of God, and His
righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for
the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Mt. 6:31, 33-34.
Anyone that cannot seek first the kingdom of God
will never reach full spiritual maturity.They cannot be trusted to obey God all the way.Sooner or later, they will pull back and
disobey or ignore the Lord’s instructions.They are in a self-imposed prison cell labeled “The Flesh.”They can never rule the nations.
WALKING IN THE SPIRIT
To move from carnal to spiritual takes great desire and
understanding.The flesh and Self is the
enemy.The world and Satan know how to
feed the flesh, but the real enemy is us.We are limited by our flesh and the failure to recognize its power and
great influence on our mind and actions.Almost everything we think, say and do is motivated by the need to
promote the Self and the flesh.
In 1 Corinthians 9:24, the apostle Paul says, “Know ye not that they which run in a race
run all, but one receiveth the prize?So
run, that ye may obtain.And every man
that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things.Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown;
but we an incorruptible.”First,
Paul says, “Know ye not.”This implies
that many Christian don’t even know that they are in a race to perfection in
Jesus Christ.They float around waiting
to die and go to heaven, not realizing that the Lord wants us to become perfect
in Jesus Christ.That is the reason for
us being on earth and that is the race that we are in.
History indicates that the Greek Olympics were already an
established social and athletic event at the time Paul wrote his letter.Even today, millions of people all over the
world strive for a medal at the Olympic Games held every four years.They dedicate their entire lives to a sport
and to win a corruptible medal.In
Paul’s day, it was a wreath of flowers.But we strive for an incorruptible crown in heaven.In heaven, there are different rewards and
levels that reflect what one accomplished during his short time on earth.
Paul knew that the race was ordained by God.“I
therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the
air: . . . .”1 Co.
9:26.Paul was certain as to the fact
that he was in a race to perfection and that he did not fight for fun or
recreation.The word “fight” indicates
that one has at least one adversary and perhaps more.He didn’t leave his fighting in the gym as
one would do in boxing.He didn’t just
spar or beat the air.He fought all the
time and against the enemies of the Spirit.
“But I keep under my
body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have
preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”1 Co.
9:27.Paul knew that his primary enemy
was his flesh or body.He knew that in
order to grow in the Spirit, he had to take the flesh off the throne and bring
it into subjection to the Spirit.
Bring our flesh into subjection to God is our primary battle