What are some of the best ways to relate to carnal Christians?
1. Let everyone know the advantages of being controlled by the Spirit versus the disadvantages of living according to one's fleshly desires. Paul writes, "The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; idolatry, and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy,fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissension, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Gal. 5:19-22)
2. Encourage people to not be argumentative through your own fine example. Paul writes, "Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. (Gal. 5:25,26)
3. Help people see the advantages of using their Christian liberties for God's purposes instead of their own. Paul writes, "But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature, rather, serve one another in love. The entire Law is summed up in a single command, 'Love your neighbor as yourself'."(Gal. 5:14)
4. Avoid people who habitually cause divisions and like to argue. Paul writes, "I urge you brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.... I want you to be wise about what is good and innocent about what is evil. (Rom.16:17-19)
5. Exhort people to not follow the patterns of the non-Christians of this world. Paul writes, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Rom. 12:2) .
6. Encourage people to grow up in all aspects in their spiritual maturity. Paul writes, "Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual, but as worldly - mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still carnal. For since there is jealousy and quarrelling among you, are you not carnal? Are you not acting like mere men? (I Cor. 3:1-3)
7. Be alert and cautious to people who would rather have you live by popular philsophies rather than the truth of the scriptures. Paul writes, "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. (Col. 2:8)
8. Point people to the fact of their responsibilities to grow up into all aspects: worship, obedience, prayer, wisdom, faith, love, evangelism, disciple-making, church planting, giving, serving, purity, and overall lifestyle. The writer of Hebrews reminds his readers, "In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil." (Heb. 5:12-14)
9. Remember, the source of most quarrels begins within one's own desires. James writes, "You quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask. When you ask, you do not receive because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures." (James 4:1-4)
10. The best way to overcome carnality is through a healthy devotional life of prayer.
11. Remind everyone of their primary responsibility to love as Jesus did. Paul writes, "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." (I Cor. 13 :4-7)
12. Let everything be measured by the Biblical criteria of love.