The Apostle Paul - “Dear brothers and sisters, when I was with you I couldn’t talk to you as I would to spiritual people. I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in Christ.” (1 Corinthians 1:1)
Sometimes Christians, who have the Holy Spirit within them, still live natural lives with the bondage, brokenness, and burdens of those who’ve never been born again. In 1 Corinthians 1:1, the Apostle Paul compares a Christian living an unnatural life to a baby who never grows up. Babies are special. It’s adorable when they reach out to their parents. It’s cute to hear their baby talk and watch them roll around in their crib. However, if that same baby uses baby talk, rolls around in their crib, and acts like a baby ten years later, it’s no longer cute. Instead, it’s a tragedy because it’s evidence that something is wrong.
These unnatural “carnal” Christians are completely dependent on others. The Apostle Paul believed this about many of the Corinthian Christians when he wrote, “I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger.” (1 Corinthians 3:2) There is nothing wrong with a milk diet for a newborn, but there are far better things on which adults can dine. Milk is technically pre-digested food, which reminds us that “carnal” Christians are dependent on others to feed them.
Unnatural “carnal” Christians are also disobedient in their lives. The Apostle Paul writes, “And you still aren’t ready, for you are still controlled by your sinful nature.” (1 Corinthians 3:2-3) These “carnal” Christians live disobedient lives because they are submitted to their sinful nature rather than to the Spirit of the Lord. We read in God’s Word that “The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants.” (Galatians 5:16-17) Living disobedient lives causes Christians to be defeated and degenerate. We learn from Galatians that “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these.” (Galatians 5:19-21)
Unnatural “carnal” Christians are almost always divisive toward others. The Apostle Paul writes, “You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you acting like people of the world?” (1 Corinthians 3:2-3). Like spoiled brats, “carnal” Christians are often the center of division and controversy in the church. This is obviously not the fruit of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
Followup Activity - Have you ever behaved like an unnatural “carnal” Christian? At one point or the other, we all have. Today, write out a prayer to the Lord, repenting of any unnatural “carnal” ways. If you are leading your family through this devotion, ask them to do the same.
Prayer for Today - Lord, forgive me for when I’ve behaved as an unnatural Christian. Help me to live unselfishly for You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.