Is anything in life accomplished in an instant? From learning to speak, to winning a girl’s heart, to career advancement, all development is a progression of incremental steps – each one building on the previous.

One might ask, “What if the last step was wrong or injurious?” In that case the next step is toward restoration; and stepping all the more needful.

The point here is that life is not a collection of events, but of processes. Even our birth begins with two cells becoming one, then two, then four, and so on. All physically animate things move in a direction – birth, growing and dying.

Recognizing this, the wise man does his best to organize his steps in the most profitable manner (meaning, he puts more than a little thought into his choices). The laisse faire approach to life rarely ends well.

Knowing that the natural life operates in process, why then would Christians live as though the spiritual life is any different? Why wouldn’t we readily recognize our spiritual life as more than a disconnected collection of events?

I will tell you why; because our carnal mind is at enmity with the Spirit, and opposed to our spiritual development. It is active in distracting and deceiving us.

We are being moved in a spiritual direction – toward evil or good, death or life. We must fight against our carnal mind for the spiritual processes that have been given to us by God for our maturation. These include sanctification, transformation, and salvation.

Furthermore, obedience to every command of the Father and Son is a process (hear, obey, act). Walking in the Spirit is a process. Faith is the process of God whereby His word to us becomes His work – over and over again, faith to faith.

This brings to mind another spiritual truth: These processes are iterative; they repeat in God-prescribed patterns. This is one of the reasons why spiritual disciplines work. Again, this is not unlike our life in the physical realm – the workday being a good example. Repetition and patterns are common to both physical and spiritual development.

In regards to the spiritual realm, there are two disciplines of thought we would be wise to develop and exercise. We have alluded to the first: viewing the events of our life – past, present, and future – as more than a random collection of happenstances. God is a very careful and intentional orchestrator. Externally, He is working all things to the good of those that love Him and are called to His purposes (Romans 8:28). Internally, He is working to will and do to His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). Our God is purposeful and no purpose will be denied Him (Job 42:2).

Secondly, we must discipline ourselves to embrace the iterative nature of these processes. Thank God, He does not sanctify nor transform us all at once. And, oh, what joy and blessedness to know that He is saving us (not just keeping us saved) throughout our entire “being saved” life (1Corinthians 1:18)! The kingdom of God has come, and it is coming.

The laisse faire approach to the spiritual life never ends as well as it could, and often ends poorly. It is critically important that we recognize and deal with the enemy that lies within. “The Devil made me do it” is a deception. The carnal mind is a formidable enemy – better positioned to destroy our spiritual life. One might argue that the enemy which lies within is, in fact, our number one enemy.

Our carnal mind attacks our participation in the spiritual processes in three distinct ways. First, it lauds our accomplishment thus far – that we have arrived, or done enough. Second, it reminds us of the discomfort and pain associated with transformation (metamorphoo, in the Greek) and sanctification (i.e., being set apart from the world). Third, it detains, delays, and derails us with a myriad of worldly detractions.

This brew of carnal deception entices us to just get on with our physical and carnal lives – to settle for less than we have been promised by the Promise Keeper. Forewarned is forearmed: The carnal life leads to death, even for professing Christians.

Praise God, we have been empowered to overcome the presence and deceptions our carnal mind.

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ… 2Corinthians 10:3-5

Please let me know if you are interested in learning more about the carnal mind, taking every thought captive and/or the spiritual processes and disciplines of the Christian faith.

God bless you with grace for the overcoming, greater-than life. In Christ, all things are possible.

Humbly yours and forever His,