Two major types of thinking have defined our existence - spiritual thought and carnal thought. This is not something we often talk about in the western world. Reason being, we adopted carnal thought as our native way of thinking. Another word for carnal is sensual. We just call it normal.
Ever had that feeling growing up that you could not understand what was being said in the bible? I know I did. It felt like I was reading a PhD level book with kindergarten level education. How can one walk spiritually while living in a physical world? To make things easier, we made the image of spiritual living as wearing sackcloth and sitting in the mountains meditating all day. In reality, Jesus and his disciples were often on the move healing and helping those in need.
Does it matter what I think?
In Matthew 6, Jesus tells us not to pray, fast or give to charity in the same way the world does. So everything else is ok right? No, not ok. He establishes in principle that he does not want us following after vanity. By definition, vanity means doing something that proves to be unfruitful. A humble man with no education of note made our wisdom look quite foolish.
Carnal thought is an abstract way of thinking, in that it asks us to view things that we cannot physically see. It philosophizes and this often leaves room for misinterpretation. When something is not black and white, your mind is probably going to lean towards the easier option. Examples of carnal thought would be words like faith, hope, love and peace. Incredibly important words to any Christian but they cannot be effectively demonstrated by themselves.
Spiritual thought is a concrete way of thinking, in that it draws physical comparisons to things you experience with your five senses. In our modern day society we would laugh this to scorn as some sort of “caveman” way of thinking. Truth is, it’s how Jesus Christ taught. An example of this would be the parables. The use of similes like a sower planting seeds or leaven (yeast) added to dough, paints the outline to guide us. When the Holy Spirit fills in the space, we gain the understanding. Spiritual thought establishes the importance of action being the end result of our thought process.
God created a functional human being led by his spirit. To be spiritually minded is life and peace. Among the disciples, Peter loved Jesus the most but that love needed refining. How could he say he loved Jesus when he rejected him three times? Jesus asked Peter if he loved him in our common carnal tongue. He then taught him how to love spiritually. Actions speak louder than words.
Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.
- 2 Corinthians 13:11