Manifestations of Carnality

The following tract was written by Elmer Ellsworth Shelhamer. Born in 1869, Shelhamer was converted at 16 and called to preach holiness and divine healing. He labored in revivals, helped found Free Methodist Churches in Pennsylvania and Illinois, and spent several years ministering at God’s Bible School. He wrote and edited a number of books and traveled to every continent except Antarctica before passing on to his reward in 1947.

The following are some of the features and manifestations of carnality:

Reader, the Spirit ALONE can interpret and apply this tract to your individual case. As you read, examine yourself as if in the immediate presence of God. Do you ever feel:

  1. A secret sense of pride; an exalted feeling in view of your success or position; because of your good training and appearance; because of your natural gifts and abilities; an important, independent spirit; stiffness and preciseness; married to your opinion?
  2. Love of human praise; a secret fondness to be noticed; love of supremacy; drawing attention to self in conversation; a swelling out of the ego when you have had a free time in speaking or praying!
  3. The stirrings of anger or impatience–but worst of all, you call it nervousness or holy indignation; a touchy, sensitive spirit; a disposition to resent and retaliate when reproved or contradicted; sharp, heated flings at another?
  4. Self will; a stubborn, unteachable spirit; an arguing, talkative spirit; harsh, sarcastic expressions; an unyielding, headstrong disposition; a driving, commanding spirit; a disposition to criticize and pick flaws when set aside an unnoticed; a peevish, fretful spirit; a disposition that loves to be coaxed and humored?
  5. Carnal fear, a man-fearing spirit; a shrinking from reproach and duty; reasoning around the cross; a shrinking from doing your whole duty by those of wealth or position; a fearfulness that someone will get out of the Spirit and thus offend and drive some prominent person away; a compromising, holding-back spirit?
  6. A jealous disposition; a secret spirit of envy shut up in your heart; an unpleasant sensation in view of the great prosperity and success of another; a disposition to speak of the faults and failings rather than the gifts and virtues of those more talented and appreciated than yourself?
  7. Lustful stirrings; unholy actions, a carnal leaning; undue affection and familiarity towards those of the opposite sex; wandering eyes; looking the second time?
  8. A dishonest, deceitful disposition; evading and covering the truth; covering up your real faults; leaving a better impression of yourself than is strictly true; false humility; exaggeration; straining the truth when it is to your advantage?
  9. Unbelief; a spirit of discouragement in times of pressure and opposition; lack of quietness and confidence in God; lack of faith and trust in God; a disposition to worry and complain in the midst of pain, poverty, or at the dispensations of Divine Providence; an overanxious feeling whether everything will come out all right?
  10. Formality and deadness; lack of concern for lost souls; dryness and indifference; lack of power with God? Selfishness, love of ease; love of money, etc.?

These are some of the traits which generally indicate a carnal heart. If one principle is lurking there, you can depend on it, they are ALL there. By prayer and fasting hold your heart open to the searching light of God until you see the groundwork thereof. The Holy Ghost will enable you, by confession and faith, to bring your “old man” to the death. “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, than henceforth we should not serve sin” (Romans 6:6). Do not patch over, but go to the bottom. It will pay. Hallelujah!

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