Where I came from, fun was important. There were little to no discussions about self-control, or what it looks like to take personal responsibility for my choices, whether healthy or unhealthy. There was little sound teaching about the difference between human ways and God’s ways, much less listening to the Holy Spirit.
What teachings I did have about self-control sounded more like, “If you don’t stop crying, I’ll give you something to cry about!”
For years, I heard the word “carnality” but had no idea what it meant. I also never bothered to look it up and now I see that I most definitely had a carnal mind.
Carnality – pertaining to or characterized by the flesh or the body, its passions and appetites; sensual: carnal pleasures. 2. not spiritual; merely human; temporal; worldly: a man of secular, rather carnal, leanings.
Now most people will stop reading right there, thinking this is going to be some religious judgemental post wanting to prevent us from having fun. But it is not like that AT ALL.
God isn’t against you having a blast doing what you love. What he IS against is us doing things we love, having a blast, but never thinking of him or his commands.
Living in a constant state of “fun” could lead us away from what’s pure, holy and true. More often than not, we think about God during the tougher times, but not the fun times. Bringing God into the midst of your “any time” could actually bring powerful revelation.
Recently I saw my own carnal mind, and after realizing it, I was able to shift to what I call, “A Holy Spirit Override”.
My husband took me to Mexico on our 35th wedding anniversary. (Isn’t he the BEST?!) We had a blast. In the photo below you can see I’m zip lining through a rain forest upside down by my ankles, going about 35 miles an hour, down to that tiny little building below. Yes, I’m free to be and do nutty adventures like this, but I wasn’t this way a few years ago. That’s neither here nor there, but the point is I was seriously having the time of my life.
Carnally speaking…I “forgot” to pay attention to where my mind was. I’m not talking about the fact that it was upside down. I’m talking about the fact that, for more than 7 hours that day, I never once thought about God. That isn’t unusual for most of us. We often forget about God until something happens to us or someone we love. We say his name constantly, as in, “Oh my God!”, but its not in a respectful, honoring way.
We have a belief that God wouldn’t approve of us, or he’d get mad about some of the silly things we do, like hang by our ankles while risking our health in every way. The truth is, God WANTS you to feel this much joy.
Let me say that again…God wants you to experience JOY, and here is how I know;
“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:11
Back to our crazy Mexican adventure…
I was FULL of JOY this day, but after several hours I noticed a man named Kevin who lagged behind. He seemed sad at certain times throughout the day and his sorrow was palpable. I asked God to bless him and heal whatever he was going through before I moved on.
Once I was done monkeying around in the trees, (we literally spent hours up in the trees) I repelled to the ground. We did a few more events before jumping into a giant water tube that threw me out like a small Salmon being shot out of a spawning cannon. YEP! SO. MUCH. FUN!
So where does carnality come in? I was uber prideful about my entire journey through the rainforest. I kept thinking about my strength, my courage, my abilities, my nuttiness … my, my, my … I was carnal alright. This is called, the pride of life in scripture. Its one of three ways we get stuck in self.
At the end of our journey, we sat on rustic swings made out of trees and a rope, and began eating a long-awaited meal of fruit and snacks. Sitting next to me, I noticed, was Kevin. That was not coincidence.
As soon as I saw him, I heard the Holy Spirit speak a word of knowledge to me. I heard his wife’s name in my spirit, and that they were struggling in their marriage. If you’re not familiar with a “word of knowledge”, here is a quick lesson in this gift.
A word of knowledge is a spiritual gift. (1 Corinthians 12:8). It is associated with the ability to teach faith through forms of revelation similar to prophecy. It is closely related to another spiritual gift called a word of wisdom.
Upon hearing this word, I understood why Kevin looked so sad all day. “Well sir, what did you think? Did you enjoy the day?” I non-shallantly asked.
Kevin smiled and nodded as he bit into the chunk of watermelon he was holding. Seeds fell from the bright pink fruit and the juice dripped down his hand. “It was really great.” he replied.
I smiled and asked the Holy Spirit to help me discern the timing and delivery of this word, if I were to say anything at all.
We continued to talk about each event and how we felt about being there. Somewhere during our discussion, I asked him about his wife, sharing that I knew her first name and that they were struggling.
Kevin’s eyes widened and the words, “How did you know that?” came from a suspicious space that said, “No one here in Mexico would know that.”
I explained that God loves him, and wants him to feel joy again. That being here was good for him and that this word of knowledge was God’s way of showing Kevin that he still cared about him, and what was happening in his life.
He felt very emotional, and rightly so. He told me they had it all; money, house, car, and she still wasn’t happy. God gave me words of Wisdom in that moment so I could explain that it wasn’t that his wife wasn’t grateful for the hard work he did to provide all of that. The problem is that she didn’t have her own identity.
Kevin was astounded by this revelation. He looked at the watermelon rind in his hand and said, “She’s been trying to tell me that all of this time. That she doesn’t know who she is anymore, but I wasn’t able to hear it. Until right now.”
I gave Kevin my phone number, prayed for his marriage and hugged him before leaving.
I went from being 100% carnal, all about me and my having fun, to a Holy Spirit Override. I repented of my pride and allowed God to use me to soothe one of his hurting children. If I wasn’t in the habit of listening to that still small voice, Kevin would not have seen his need for God.
There are three ways we allow pride to override God;
- Lust of the flesh
- Lust with our eyes
- The pride of life
What is the Lust of the Flesh?
The Apostle Paul gives us examples:
“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21).
What is the Lust of the Eyes?
The lust of the eyes is the temptation to look upon things that we needn’t have. Coveting is succumbing to the lust of the eyes; meaning to have a yearning or a strong desire to have something that rightfully belongs to someone else. King David coveted Bathsheba, the woman with whom he would soon commit adultery. Desiring another man’s wife, or husband, material possessions, status, appearance, pornography, etc. all of these things are lust of the eyes.
What is the Pride of Life?
My story above was a good example of how I allowed the pride of life to take over, but its that sinful temptation to want others to pay attention to the excess greatness or power you have, or you boast about. Pride is one of the sins that God hates most. It is the sin that made Lucifer (the beautiful angel) turn into Satan according to scripture.
Here are a few more examples:
- Taking credit or glory for things that others (or God) did
- Wanting others to worship us or hold us in high esteem
- Wanting to feel valued or more important than others
- Desiring positions of power to puff up our ego
WANTED: Men and women who are willing to risk a Holy Spirit Override.
Thrill seekers, joy keepers, love leakers and eager beavers apply within! No matter what you’re doing, whether you’re enjoying life or not, listen to that still small voice inside. Words of knowledge and words of wisdom come from the Holy Spirit. If you’re not listening, you’re not taking action on what you hear. Stop risking far more than just a good time. I’m wanting those willing to touch the lives of God’s people.
Have you experienced a HSO in your life? Share below because I’d love to know!
Stay blessed and keep overriding.