Being carnally minded is not the same thing as being worldly minded. A carnally minded person may not be worldly minded, nor a worldly minded person, necessarily carnal.
Carnal, in the New Testament is the Greek word ” sarx” [σάρξ] and means the flesh of a man, the sensuous nature of a man, the animal nature of man with cravings which incite to sin. Carnality is related to our five physical senses: smell, touch, hearing, sight and taste. The carnal mind lusts after satisfaction of these senses. The carnal mind is therefore, as Romans 8:7 says “… enmity [hostility or hatred] against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”
The Worldly mind by comparison, is concentrated on the things of this fallen world, rather than things of the flesh. Worldly, as used in the New Testament is the Greek word “kosmikos” [κοσμικός] which simply means of or belonging to the world, earthly, worldly, i.e. having the character of this present corrupt age. When Paul says in Romans 12:2“… do not be conformed to this world …” he was talking about being worldly minded. We are not to be just pleasure seekers, not to be wealth seekers, not to be ego driven or self centred. We are not to make idols of our possessions, or our profession, or our abilities, or our inheritances, or anything else for that matter, for as Matthew 6:21 says “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” If ones heart and mind are with worldly things, they cannot be on or with God. In fact, in Titus 2:12 Paul tell us that all Christians who have “… denied ungodliness and worldly lusts, should live discreetly, righteously and godly, in this present world …”
Just to clarify how it is not necessarily true that carnality and worldly mindedness go together all the time, let’s look at a couple of plausible hypothetical examples.
Take for example the quiet devout church goer, who is living alone, separated completely from the cares of the world. An excellent bible student, but a real gossip and practiced complainer, He or she does not chase money, or position, or fame, or fortune. The local church and Jesus are the only things on this persons mind. Well, until they return home, that is, and they turn on the computer and their addiction to masturbation and online pornography take over. This is a carnal minded person, but not a worldly person.
By comparison, a worldly minded church goer may be focused on being seen at the church, in the best seats; parking the new car for all to see; drawing attention to themselves at each and every opportunity, for status and position, possessions and wealth; and being seen with the society elite, they are in bondage to all egocentric worldly minded pursuits. Outside the church, the church is quickly forgotten, unless as a prop or boost to their position in society pecking order. This is a worldly minded person.
As soon as we accept Christ and become Christians, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us and then, as Paul says in Ephesians 4:22-24,
“you ought to put off the old man (according to your way of living before) who is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind. And you should put on the new man, who according to God was created in righteousness and true holiness.” (emphasis added)
When we do this, the spirit of our mind is renewed. That is because the Holy Spirit now dwells inside us. However, while Ephesians 4:22-24 is the start of the process, and the spirit of our mind has been renewed, we need to keep going. When we look at Romans 12:2, we are told “… not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind …” Now renewing here is in the perfect continuous tense, which means that we are to keep working on it, until we have proven that we are in the “… good and pleasing and perfect will of God.” It we are still carnally or worldly minded, we are not where Paul calls us to be. Paul makes this all very clear in Second Corinthians 3:18 (AMP) saying:
“And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendour and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit.”
Being Carnally and Worldly Minded are not mindsets or lifestyles for Christians, for as Matthew 5:14, we “are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.”