Chapter 20: Not Slaves to the Carnal


WATCH out for carnal dominance in meetings. You surely have noticed that words from one whose life is hidden in Christ are heart-rending — while the exact same words from a self-willed, uncrucified life are like fingernails on a chalkboard. Can you relate to that? The words aren’t it. It has to do with “the spirit and the life.”

It comes in various forms:

Mr. (or Ms.) Loud,

  Mr. Opinionated,

    Mr. Talkative,

      Mr. Whine,

Mr. Know-it-all,    Mr. Criticize,

  Mr. Scholar,      Mr. Control,

     Mr. Experience,

      Mr. Mega-Talent,

        Mr. Insensitive,

Mr. Let’s-Sing-My-Favorite-Song (I love to sing),

Mr. I-Can-Help-You-Poor-People-Out,

Mr. We’ve-Got-To-Be-Careful-Here,

…and a host of cousins and nephews.

Pray and fast. Be willing to speak about the difficulties, first (if at all possible) “to him and him alone.” Then take it to him with two or three witnesses who can help to clarify the issue, and then tell it to the church (Mat.18). Exercise caution here and don’t “break the bruised reed” or “embitter the child.”62 The man who Jesus described in the parable of the talents as the “one-talent man” was very carnal in his reaction: “I know that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown…so I was afraid and went out and hid your talent.” That was a carnal reaction. “I don’t have to put up with this stuff. I knew you would cheat me and that you’re a hard master. I just knew. Man, this stuff is no fun at all and phooey on you!” Obviously, that’s a very carnal reaction.

When you take an immature and dominant brother or sister aside, the typical reaction will be:

“Who do you think you are? I don’t talk anymore than anyone else! If that’s the way everyone feels, I just won’t talk anymore! Okay?!”

You know what I mean? (In other words, “I’ll just bury my talent then!”)

“I knew it; I just knew it. Forget it. I try so hard and nobody appreciates anything I do.”

That’s the “one-talent reaction.” It’s carnal and you can’t win either way. What they do, they do out of carnality. When you correct them on it, they want to bury their talent. Jesus’ response to talent bury-ers is “you wicked and lazy servant. . . Throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Jesus takes that seriously. It’s not a game.

Don’t allow carnality, weakness and disorder to reign. It’s a challenge because usually carnality, weakness and disorder want to usurp the throne. It’s typically weaker brothers or weaker sisters in most religious groups who have the loudest voices, make the most waves, control things, and get their own way. Weakness, carnality and disorder can reign so easily, and we can’t let that happen. Carnality, disorder and chaos cannot rule and reign over our meetings. It is neither loving nor compassionate to let carnality run God’s Kingdom. On the other hand, do not let the one-talent (carnal) man bury his talent and thus kill himself (or herself), either.

Have fun and I wish you well.

By All Means RUN!

As each day passes by, there is always a need,

But temptation to drift is a real one indeed.

My ears want to dull and my flesh gets its way,

I need to press through, Lord, to hear what You say.

My eyes want to lower and focus on me,

My heart cries aloud, “Help me see what You see”.

I know that is not how You want me to be,

I’m humbled and thankful, You always show me.

Thank You for showing me where I have been,

You’re faithful to increase my hunger within.

Your graciousness, Lord, helps me see You’re the Source,

With Your unending love, wipe away all remorse.

Your plan is not for Your sheep to give in,

But to rise above flesh and crucify sin.

We may be prone to fall short of the mark,

But life spent in neutral is life in the dark.

We’re easily blinded and quite often fooled,

But by Your Son and Your Spirit, we’ve been well schooled.

When we make the decisions and ourselves the boss,

We’ve lost sight of You, and suffer great loss.

Let us be challenged, oh sinner and saint,

Lest we justify sin, and make ourselves great.

We must see what He sees, and keep ourselves pure,

With our purpose refined, and our hearts reassured.

Life is so short, and there’s much to be done,

Keep your eyes set above, and by all means RUN!

— Doug


62 The booklet The Apostle Paul’s Guide to Helping Carnal Christians Mature contains useful related principles. Back
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