I’ve been reminded recently that carnal/fleshly living is not just about moral sins, or unbecoming behavior, but even more so about faithlessness, unbelief and the mere perception of things through temporary, fleshly material wisdom.
And this matters because it is so costly, causing us to live so far below what God has for us, that we may not even have a clue on what we’re missing and the damages ahead!
I didn’t think I would connect this wisdom to The Parable of the Ungrateful Servant though. A story Jesus shared in teaching about unforgiveness:
In Matthew 18:21-35 we are told of a man who was mercifully forgiven of a huge debt of 10,000 Talents, which was about 20 years wages times 10,000. That’s several lifetimes of wages! So we’ll just say “billions” which doesn’t even do the sum justice. But wow, what a debt cancellation to celebrate! This meant his wife and children and all property would be spared from slavery and possession.
Soon after, he runs into one who owed him as well. The sum was 100 Denarii, which was much smaller, however he imprisoned the guy!
Here’s the key though – the amount that this person owed him wasn’t actually insignificant as we often think. I’ve heard folks refer to it like it was just a few bucks to $20 compared to the millions he had just been forgiven.
We must understand that this smaller amount owed him was more like a hundred days wages. This could be in the tens of thousands – that’s definitely a living for some. And that’s it! It did have some value. It was more relatable to him than the billions he’d probably never have attained on his own, right?
See we tend to detach from biblical characters and perhaps judge their actions as bizarre without relating to them. It just seems so simple to let go of $20 if you just got released from billions of dollars, right?
But when we contextualize these scenarios more accurately, our hearts find the connection, and the revelation becomes profound, taking us beyond cliché to conviction.
So back to the carnal illustration.
On one plane, I can totally relate with how letting go of thousands can be painful in spite of my own being recently free of billions – if I never took on the heart and mindset of the one who set me free.
If I only see myself as being free from owing billions now, rather than having gained billions, I would still need to “get ahead” and make a living or keep my cash flow going somehow.
Yes, thousands are still tiny, but only when compared to billions. And if I’ve taken my eyes off of the billions, narrow thinking will set back in. So it’s all about perspective. If he didn’t have billions to pay back, it’s possible he didn’t have thousands to give away either.
Now of course I’m not defending this guy’s actions – ‘just helping us see how we’re not often different when we lose perspective or forget. This is why revelation is everything! And then meditation after revelation is everything! It still blows my mind as I read the scriptures that even miracles don’t necessarily change hearts – if this guy just went his merry way and did not latch on to the heart of his debt forgiver, he had no revelation of what he had just received.
So now remember, your spirit is the real you, and you have a soul and live in a body. The spirit realm is also what determines reality and is what birthed the physical realm we function in.
When some become born again, they sometimes don’t get introduced to the full good news of grace after justice and mercy.
In my paraphrase of something that riveted me from Neil T. Anderson’s book, “Spiritual Warfare” he explains that justice is getting what you deserve, mercy is not getting what you deserve… God is just, so he will not bypass justice, so He brought the judgement on Himself and extended the mercy to us. And then He gave GRACE – and grace is getting more than you could ever deserve. That is the cartwheel turning and praise ringing full gospel!
So in turning to Jesus and being set free from our debt of sin, the rest of the good news is that we have gained eternal life which overflows with beloved acceptance, health, restoration, wisdom, abundance, and on and on and on!
And as these treasures are revealed to and in us, we take hold of these promises and activate them in our lives daily as we walk in the Spirit by His Word.
But if we remain in the flesh, we fight our battles at lower levels, we forget what we’ve been forgiven of (which as a reminder has also now caused us to gain, plus much more).
Though the lesson on unforgiveness or offense towards others is clear here, it really opened my eyes to its connection with expectations. For”giveness” is giving and the opposite of giving is taking or demanding, which stems from expectation.
So if we place our expectations on the earthly realm we demand our paybacks, rewards, recompense and ability to succeed on the carnal, material, fleshly level of the world system.
If we’re constantly consulting with our feelings and emotions; if we’re constantly in strife (passive or aggressive) with folks, systems or establishments; if we’re in comparison or competition with others; and if we go on about what we deserve and who’s done us wrong – we are stuck at the carnal level.
If we only consult with and place our trust in the systems of the world and what “they” say, whether it be health, economic, education, entertainment etc without placing primary precedence and trusting in God’s Word, we are functioning in the carnal realm.
See just like that ungrateful and wicked man, our reasoning at the material level (which is the shallowest) will always confirm that what we’re “missing” or losing out on is substantial so therefore we stay on the carnal battleground and demand what’s ours.
We forget that we are heirs to more and that all things, great or small are absolutely NOTHING compared to all we have been forgiven of and thereby all we have gained through Our Lord Jesus Christ who sacrificed His life on the cross, defeated the grave and rose again to gain us back, and make us winners and givers for all eternity – when we believe.