The carnal mind has one primary objective (maintain control) and one primary method for achieving it (deception). One of its greatest and necessary deceptions is its passivity, even to the point of apparent non-existence. The carnal mind works diligently to remain undetected.

Satan and the world use our carnal mind to inhibit our relationship with God and conform us to their evil ways. Now get this: Together, they form an alliance that is more destructive than either would be separately. I am confident that even now they are working hard to minimize your consideration of the danger. Please don’t let that happen. Fight back!

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. James 1:22

Committing our ways to the LORD is a process of incremental victories whereby our will is submitted to His. Failure along the way is not so much taking back control as it is never truly giving it up to begin with. Our carnal mind is far more adept and agile at deception than we imagine. It benefits from our perception of progress and it is practiced at building a false sense of security.

When our ways are truly submitted to God, there is no getting them back, short of a repeat (mini-) rebellion. This is not possible for those born of God, who have died to the sin. When this point of no-return occurs is beyond my understanding. However, it is valuable to recognize the seriousness of our commitments – that they be full and sincere – and that God does all we will allow to secure them, and us.

A Particular Deception

When we submit our ways to other people, it is easy to call them back to our own control. Better said, we are still the owners – with our ownership hidden behind a false and conditional submission. This is a deception of our carnal mind that enables it to maintain control.

A particularly sinister version of this involves our going to someone for godly counsel. In this situation, the unwary will find that they are still capable of considering and rationalizing the offered advice with their carnal mind. In this case, the deception is increased by our carnal mind feigning to involve God. It is best that we not go to someone else for godly advice until we are certain our will in the matter is truly submitted to God.

Furthermore, this type of camouflaged submission occurs in close relationships (e.g., spouse, parent, children). Anyone we look to for approval can be used by our carnal mind as a false substitute for God.

Close relationships, authority and godly counsel are all given by God for His glory and our good. They are good… when they are submitted to the will of God. The point here is that our carnal minds are actively involved in subverting His authority in our relationships. We must become more suspicious of this activity.

Turning to the Lover of our Souls

Graciously, God has not left us to fend for ourselves. He often allows – and creates – chaos in our camouflaging relationships (e.g., an offense). He does this knowing we will react – laying claim to one or more of our rights. When this occurs, a door of opportunity is opened for the Holy Spirit to expose our self-inflicted deception.

This realization may occur at any time, from immediately to several weeks later – a timeframe generally proportional to our humility and overall submission to His conviction and transformation. When the realization comes, our response must be aggressive repentance and submission to the Holy Spirit’s renewal of our mind.

Most of us have been trained by the world to turn to our carnal minds instead – for both analysis of the situation and preventative action. This only feeds the carnal, which has no intention of overthrowing itself. It will pretend to act in our best interest, while cleverly constructing a new deception. This is most often accomplished subconsciously (i.e., beyond our passive awareness). We must train ourselves to be on the lookout for this tactic.

If you’ve read this far, I am grateful. We are all in this together and need each other’s exhortation and encouragement (myself included). Therefore, let me leave you with a question I have been asking myself: What are you doing to actively resist the deception of your carnal mind?

I am seriously interested in your response. In a future article, we share your input and provide additional insight, including an answer to, “What can we do?” In the meantime…

God bless you with wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him – and the workings of our spiritual enemies.

Humbly yours and forever His,