Carnal Christianity. What is it and why does it exist? What contributes to someone being a carnal Christian?
The following factors or reasons are things which can lead to carnal Christianity:
- Ignorance — We haven’t devoted ourselves enough to the topic of “life with the Holy Spirit” or we haven’t found the key for putting it into practice.
- Unbelief or Small of Faith — The prerequisite for being filled with the Holy Spirit is the complete surrender of one’s life to Jesus Christ. Failing to surrender completely could happen because of ignorance, or maybe because we are afraid that the Lord will lead us differently than what we want. This means that we don’t trust God’s love and wisdom enough.
- Erroneous Notions — A person can think they are filled with the Holy Spirit, even though they aren’t in reality or not sufficiently. This seems to be the most frequent problem.
- Being too Busy — People are so overburdened that they think they don‘t have any or enough time to maintain a relationship with Christ. Or they take the time, but don’t make any progress in connecting with God.
- Hidden Sins — Not confessing and repenting, possibly also missing restitution, can be like a short-circuit, meaning there is no connection with God’s power.
- Fear of people — A person can be so filled with the culture of the day that they don’t have the courage to live out the principles of faith.
- Act Mostly According to their Feelings — God’s word says: “The righteous shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17 ESV). Do I make decisions by trusting God or according to my feelings? This statement from Roger Morneau really impressed me: “The spirits would encourage people to listen to their feelings instead of the word of Christ and His prophets. In no surer way could the spirits obtain control of people’s lives without the individuals realizing what was happening.”1
We should continually ask by faith for the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said in John 14:17: “For He [the Holy Spirit] dwells with you and will be in you.” Acts 2:38 says: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized … and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
When Jesus taught about prayer, He said in Luke 11:9-13 “… ask, and it will be given to you; … how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” Ephesians 5:18 says: “… be filled with the Spirit.” In both cases in the original Greek text, it is a continual request.
We received life at our birth. In order to sustain this life, we have to eat, drink, exercise, etc. It is exactly the same in our spiritual life. We have the Holy Spirit through our baptism by water and the Spirit (we were ‘born again’) so that this spiritual life remains in us our whole life. In order to sustain this spiritual life, it is necessary to use the spiritual means that God provided: the Holy Spirit, God’s Word, prayer, our testimony, etc.
Jesus said in John 15:4: “Abide in me, and I in you.” Ellen G. White says concerning this: “Abiding in Christ means a constant receiving of His Spirit, a life of unreserved surrender to His service.”2
Call to Action (Be Persistent!)
We need to daily ask for the Holy Spirit by faith and surrender ourselves to the Lord every morning with everything we have and are.
Will you ask daily for the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:9-13), be persistent, and make yourself available for God to do what He needs to in you?
The above is an excerpt from Steps to Personal Revival.
Unless noted otherwise, scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- Roger Morneau, A Trip into the Supernatural (Takoma Park, Maryland: Review and Herald Publishing Association: 1982), 43.
- Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages (Mountain View, California: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1898), 676.