Read Romans 8:1-17. It seems clear from these verses that to be carnal is to live according to the flesh while the alternative is to be Spiritual or live according to the Spirit. If we regard the things of this life as all important we are living according to the flesh, but if we regard the things of Christ as our priority we are living according to the Spirit. The Spirit of God tells us many things that we are to apply to our lives and live by and they all can be found in scripture, which is how God revealed His will to the human family through His Holy Spirit. We are to walk in this life according to these things of the Spirit and not according to the things that our fleshly existence in this life encourage us to walk.
We are to put to death the deeds of the body and this is done symbolically when we are buried with Jesus into His death during baptism. The old man of sin is put to death and we are raised to walk in newness of life or to walk as God would have us walk (Romans 6:1-4). If we are to walk according to the Spirit after baptism, we must fill our hearts and our minds with the scriptures so that we are able to conform our lives to them.
This takes a great deal of bible study and every individual Christian is required to meet this condition. We must not leave it to others to study the word and tell us what it means, but we must read and study each passage for ourselves so that we understand what God would have us do. If we are to walk according to the Spirit we must know what the spirit has revealed and live accordingly.
It is a constant struggle within each individual to live according to the Spirit and to put to death or do away with the things of the flesh. If we live according to the dictates of this world, as so many do, we are at enmity with God and cannot please Him. We must struggle to weed out of our lives the things of the flesh which result in sin and replace them with the things of God. If we fill our hearts and minds with the things of God, we will leave very little room for the things of the flesh and sin.
Read Matthew 12:43-45. Note that the man cleaned his house and put it in order after the spirits were cast out of him, but he did not replace the evil spirits with the Spirit of God so the evils spirits returned with their companions so that his state became worse than it was at the first. In the same way we must replace the fleshly, sinful things in our lives with the Spirit of God we get through His word, or we will find that sin comes back even stronger than before and we end up more wicked than we were originally.
When we are converted to Christ and baptized for the remission of our sins, God forgives our sins, but if we merely go from there and try to sin no more without filling our minds with the things of the Spirit, we cannot hope to remain pure and sinless or in a right relationship with God. We must then continue to study the scriptures and allow God’s word to transform our lives so that we are able to walk according to the Spirit and not according to the dictates of the flesh.
This is called growing spiritually and the more we apply the scriptures to our lives the stronger spiritually we will become and the easier we will find it to put to death the things of the flesh. We will sin again after our baptism and we must seek forgiveness in each case, but the more we learn to walk according to the Spirit and be spiritually minded, the stronger we will become and the weaker the flesh’s hold upon us becomes.
We will always be tempted in this life, but we must use the scriptures to overcome temptation as Jesus did when He was tempted (Matthew 4:1-11). This is walking according to the Spirit and not the flesh and I hope and pray that we can all learn to do so, as God requires. It is the only way to overcome the weight of sin that seeks to crush us in this life.
May God bless and keep you until next time.