There are Two Realities
There are two realities.
The first of these two realities and most obvious one is the reality of the natural world, which we can sense, through the five carnal senses of taste, touch, smell, sight and hearing. The other is the reality of the spirit, which we cannot sense through the five senses, but only through the Holy Spirit revealed truth in the written word of God and the resulting experienced truth that follows through a personal relationship with Christ Jesus. Wow! That is a mouth full and the reader needs to really mediate on what I have just said.
As Christians, we are continually presented with the choice of making life decisions based on one, or the other of these two realities. They are polar opposites. The Holy Spirit led route will always produce a fulfilling and victorious life, while the carnal road will always lead to moral decay and defeat. (Romans 8:6-7) Non-Christians do not have a choice. They are dead to all Holy Spirit revealed truth, except the truth being presented by the Holy Spirit, which says that all must confess Jesus, as Lord, to be saved. (Romans 10:9) (1 Corinthians 12:3) Without listening to The Holy Spirit and choosing to do this first, unbelievers are unable to receive and understand all other eternal truths. (1 Corinthians 2:14) In addition, all unbelievers are also under the sway of the Devil. (1 John 5:19)
Needless to say, Christians should always choose the spiritual road but that is easier said than done. One reason, why following the spiritual road is so hard, is because life’s problems have a way of showing up, in areas, where we are spiritually blind. Ignorance of God's Word, false teaching, Satanic bondage and sin are the four major road blocks which blind our spiritual eyes. So, by default, we Christians usually choose a carnal solution to our problems just like unbelievers do. Why? Because the carnal solution is always easier to visualize and almost always appears much simpler. Secondly, a carnal solution is the solution most everyone else around us is using. Finally, a carnal choice will usually work for a while before it falls apart. Hear is another hindrance to following the spirit. Our five senses are notorious for projecting feelings of well being as long as we are following our carnal self, but bad feelings when just starting to learn how to follow the Spirit. The German Jews during the 1930's are a good example of what I am saying. It was relatively easy for a German Jew to leave Germany during the first years of Nazi oppression. In fact, the Nazis wanted them to leave but most German Jews chose to stay in Germany even when they had the ability to leave. Why? They stayed because all they had to guide them were their own carnal feelings. Those feelings said, "Why up root myself and my family now while my business is still providing a living. If I relocate, I will have to start all over and leave many of my possessions, friends and family." Others in their community were sticking it out so it just felt better to sit in the pot of water and wait while the Nazis brought the pot to a boil. The writing was on the a wall, but the Jewish community, as a whole, didn't have eyes to read that writing. Carnality loves repetition and deplores change. Carnality cannot see the future. It can only make choices based on past events. It tells a body to just keep doing what it has been doing in the past which brought a sense of well being. In this way, carnal solutions can actually seem to work for a while, but not for the long haul. All carnal solutions in life fall apart sooner or later and they tend to fall apart when we are at our weakest. The 1930's Jews in Germany had rejected Christ so therefore they had no spiritual eyes to visualize a spiritual path even if they tripped over it. They did, however, have a very real sense of self righteousness, rooted in the law of the old testament. Self righteous and carnal works can take a fellow quite a ways in life but sooner or later a "Nazi" will show up at the door and carry him off to a torture chamber of horrors and that smug plateau of complacency will vanish forever. What I have just said is so important, let me repeat it again. Carnal solutions to life’s problems, which seem to work for a while, will always have the bottom fall out, and it usually happens when we are at our weakest. This is true for an entire nation, or an individual person. Only spiritually guided actions will provide steadfast everlasting solutions to the problems we face in life, and amazingly, they work even better when we are weak. (Hebrews 11:34) (1 Corinthians 1:27)
Following our spiritual eyes doesn't always feel right to the natural intellect but what feels right to the unsanctified carnal areas of a person’s soul (the mind, will and emotions) usually always turns out to be a bad decision. Jesus is the greatest example of the idea I am trying to explain here. His spiritual decision to die on the cross looked like defeat to all the world, and it certainly didn't feel good to him, because his natural body had to suffer unimaginable pain and a most humiliating death. However, Jesus’s was exactly where the Holy Spirit wanted him to be which led to the greatest spiritual victory that has ever been won by a man. Spiritually speaking, he obtained the possibility of eternal salvation for the entire world and even his carnal body was restored to life as he rose from the grave to take dominion over everything including death and sin. (John 10:15) (Matthew 26:53)
I realize that everything I have just said here can be construed as
nothing more than abstract Christian rhetoric by most Christians
reading this, much less the unsaved world. So, with that in mind,
let me give a more personal example of the danger of living a carnal
life. My Grand Father was a “good Christian man” who chose a carnal
route to arrive at a successful life. In human terms, he did all the
right things. He loved his wife dearly. He worked extremely hard. He
was honest. He gave to his church, both his time and his money. He
also gave to any of his neighbors, whom he knew to be in need. By
all accounts this was a man of highest integrity and a role model
for everyone who knew him. His handshake was his bond.
In 1931, just after the onset of a terrible depression and just after his wife, Beatrice, had lost a baby, my Grand Father took in a little four year old girl who was the illegitimate child of a sixteen year old prostitute living in a house of ill repute run by her mother, which was located in Covington, Virginia. Her father, Harve Clark, was My Grand Father’s nephew and my paternal Grand Father. The affair contributed to a divorce between Harve and his wife. Now, Harve had initially taken my mother to raise but soon realized that my Grand Father was in a much more stable position to do that and so my Grand Father agreed to do just that. What a noble thing to do! That is how Walter Lee Clark became my Grand Father. He was an excellent father from all carnal appearances. When he fathered another daughter shortly after my mother came to live with him, he showed no preferential treatment what-so-ever between his two daughters. He loved my mother like she was his own. However, the passionate emotions we feel for our children are only carnal feelings and bring to the table absolutely nothing of substance in the rearing of a child. What does the Holy Spirit inspired Word of God say? It says that we should do more than just experience feelings of love for our children. The Word says, "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he shall not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6) My Grand Father was one of the most loving and affectionate fathers to both his girls that I have ever seen, as he was to me. However, he didn't have a clue when it came to training his girls in the way they should go in life because that type of wisdom only comes from Holy Spirit led choices in life instead of carnal choices. My Grand Father like so many other Christians was very hard of hearing when it came to listening to the Holy Spirit on anything to do with raising his girls in the way they should go.
Reflecting back, as a child, while running errands in town with my Grand Father, it’s not hard to recall, in my mind’s eye, a picture of him, dressed in worn bib overhauls, wearing a weathered 1930′s era hat, standing on a busy Lexington side walk off main street. He could be seen carrying on conversations with other men, who would shout at him from across the street to get his attention. I have no recollection of the specific topics of any of these shouted conversations, but I could sense the respect in other men’s demeanors toward my Grand Father. The 1950′s Ford and Chevrolet sedans would be whizzing past, as the man on the other side of the street would raise the volume of his “Hello Walter” to be heard over the sound of whining gears and motor noise. Lexington was the heartbeat of Rockbridge County, Virginia and my Grandfather was one of the most respected men in the County by all who knew him. That desire for the natural respect from others carries a lot of weight, especially with men, as they get older. However, it’s a rare virtue, indeed, instilled in just a few men, to be noticed and sought after by their generational peers whenever possible, even on a busy street. My Grand Father was this sort of man. The only trouble with this way of obtaining respect is that it is many times obtained by carnal means, not spiritual. What does the Word of God say? (Romans 2:11) (Ephesians 6:9) (Luke 6:26) (Romans 8:7)
Yes, he taught me to work hard for what I desired, but gave me no clue as to what that "desire" should be. The truth was this. He, himself, was not in touch with his own God given desires. The Devil, himself, works hard. Evil people work hard. Bank robbers work hard planning their next heist. Working hard is not a virtue in and of itself. It only becomes a sound moral virtue when coupled to righteous spirit led actions. Here is the shocker. All carnal actions are self centered and all self centeredness is sin. Nowhere does the Bible say that the ability to gain the respect of others is a Godly quality. On the contrary, what did Jesus say? He said, "Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for so did their fathers to the false prophets." (Luke 6:26) Here is a truth that every Human being should know. All Christians have received a new spirit and a new heart. (Ezekiel 36:26) Therefore, that new heart has been given Godly desires by God himself. Christians are largely motivated to action by only three things, their feelings, their fear or their God given desires. The first two or carnal but our God given desires are Godly because God would not have given them to us in the first place if they weren't. The big question is, "How do we get in touch with these desires?" The Bible says, "Delight yourself in the Lord and he shall also give you the desires of your heart". (Psalms 37:4) So, that is how we get in touch with the desires of our heart. However, a carnal Christian cannot delight themselves in the Lord, because that is a spiritual endeavor, which quite frankly makes the flesh crawl. It feels awful. Its boring. It doesn't feel good to the carnal side of a person. It doesn't taste good. It doesn't sound good and it doesn't even smell good. My Grand Father had tremendous respect from me, his family and neighbors but he never obtained the desires of his own heart because he never learned how to delight himself in the Lord.
On a two hundred acre farm located six miles from this Historic Virginia town, I spent every summer of my youth, working in hay fields during the day, milking cows in the mornings and evenings and sleeping under a tin roof that made one of the best sounds in the world when it rained. After spending a hot summer’s day in the sun, my Grandfather, my Grandmother and I would sit on the front porch and look out across the valley, to catch the glint of the setting sun, shining off a car, travelling along the Skyline Drive. These days seemed to my boyish carnal mind to be the most normal way that a life should be lived. Under my Grand Father’s affectionate tutorage, life on his farm gave me the most peaceful and secure feelings of my youth and it felt as though this life style would only get better as time progressed. My Grand Father loved his farm and me more than anything and I loved him more than any other man on earth.
I had no inkling what-so-ever of the devastating events which were to come. These horrible events would spring from a life time of separate carnal choices made by this wonderfully kind man. The harvest from them would change my Grand Father’s seemingly idyllic life style into a life of unending defeat and misery where he would lose everything. With the fruits from this field of horrors, his life time of hard work would be erased, as if it never existed, leaving only faint memories buried in the diming recollections of the younger family members like me.
Horror is a very subjective term, I suppose, depending on the sensibilities of those who use the word. What would be considered horror, for those who walk by the spirit is not always horror to other folks, whose spiritual senses have been deadened by the world around them and their own personal choices. I am not talking about the popular notion considered to be horror by a fallen world. The kind of horror I am trying to describe here is one which can follow suddenly, after years of struggling and then arriving at a relatively pleasant plateau in the carnal life. It is the horror preceded by a mindset of self-sufficiency. It is ushered in by an ever increasing carnal feeling, which suggests tomorrow will be just as good as today, or even better. There are unsanctified portions of the human brain which act as welcoming center for this type of horror, by telling us, that we have made it through the tough times and now we have more than enough to see us through to the finish.
The type of horror my grandfather experienced was just such a horror. It was built on the carnal foundation I have just described and then ushered in by a stroke. Within a very short time after the stroke, what he had sacrificed and worked so hard for, in the depression years of the 1930's, as well as all his life, had vanished. The farm was sold at a desperation price and the great hardwoods, including the majestic walnut trees, which he cherished, were assassinated. Their carcasses were immediately stripped from the land by greedy souls. Apartment buildings for college students were built next to the farm house, desecrating the old home place. Progressively, the land’s cancer spread. Other lots were sold. Forlorn, even cursed dwellings sprang up in time, to be almost immediately neglected, until the passing of a few years presented an over grown and yet visible reflection of the broken dreams, which once shined in a loving and kind hearted man. That man was my grandfather, Water Lee Clark.
While I was with him, he taught me many of the subtleties of
becoming a man, but the greatest lesson he taught me was the one he
never learned, himself, and that lesson is, “Build your nest on high
and fashion it after the design that can only be given by the Holy
Spirit, delighting yourself in the one whose ways are everlasting.
Never, ever build your nest by sight, on the carnal ground of this