Carnality is not a place where God wants us to live. God has called each of us to walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh (Galatians 5:16). Carnality can be defined simply as a Christian who leans towards worldliness. It is possible to be carnal and not totally backslidden, however, those who flirt with worldliness long enough usually divorce themselves from God eventually or vice versa. In my years of pastoral ministry, I have been asked over and over again to give practical snapshots or specific definitions of what carnality looks like in real life. This is my humble attempt to answer some of those inquiries. I have tried to be honest (not unkind) with these little snapshots – thirty of them to be exact. Don’t worry, they’re short. I regularly check my own attitudes, actions, and influences for any trace of deadly carnality. It is my prayer that this article has been written with, and that it will be read with, a spirit that desires to please God. So here we go.
You might be a carnal Christian if…
…going to church is a low priority in your life.
…your activities at church only involve one-day a week or less.
…you are more comfortable around sin than you are around righteousness.
…you regularly make fun of, laugh at, or become angered by righteousness (spiritual things).
…you have no personal spiritual disciplines like prayer, Bible reading, Bible study, Bible memorization, witnessing, and fasting.
…you are angered by preaching that challenges, convicts, corrects, rebukes, or even nudges you a little bit.
…you dislike worshipping and other people’s outward demonstrations of worship annoy you as well.
…you don’t want pastoral authority or advice (you may or may not say this verbally, but you feel it inwardly).
…you will only do things for God that others will notice and applaud. You are unwilling to do small, menial tasks for others, your church, and God’s kingdom in general.
…you regularly give in to temptation and get tripped up by the same sins over and over again (even after repenting).
…you live on a steady diet of worldly music and other various forms of entertainment that promote, glorify, and justify sinful activities.
…you will not listen to godly advice even from close family and friends.
…God is not the first priority in your life.
…you withhold your tithes (10% of your income) from God, do not give offerings (any amount given to God in love), or ever give sacrificially (giving until and/or when it hurts).
…you don’t think you have any room for improvement or spiritual progress.
…you regularly participate in gossip, backbiting, and contribute to arguments and strife.
…you look for controversies and ways to bring divisions rather than seeking peace and unity with all men.
…you are regularly filled with envy, rage, jealousy, pride, arrogance or any other emotion that does not reflect the fruit of the Spirit.
…you put you first rather than others.
…you can’t remember the last time you repented to God or another individual for wrongdoing.
…humility is a word that makes you uncomfortable.
…you are secretly dishonest but would like for people to view you as trustworthy.
…you regularly lie, but you think it’s ok because you don’t get caught.
…you are constantly looking for loopholes in God’s Word rather surrendering to its authority.
…you get more excited over a football game (or you can fill in the blank with your favorite distraction) than you do the goodness of God.
…you can’t remember the last time you talked about God outside of a church function.
…you regularly let your mind dwell on lustful, immoral, wicked, and evil things, but you think its ok because you haven’t acted on them.
…you have no respect for godly elders or opinions other than your own.
…you do not value those who labor in the Word (preachers, pastors, prophets, evangelists, missionaries, and teachers). You do not think they are worthy of a double portion (or any portion for that matter).
…you have not felt the presence of God in a long, long time.