Bill Bright used to tell the story of a man who carefully saved his money back in the 1950’s until he was finally able to travel on a beautiful cruise ship. It was all he could do just to save enough to buy his ticket. Thinking he wouldn’t have enough money to buy meals in the ship’s fine dining room, he decided to take along some cheese and crackers for food.
For several days he sat in his cabin, watching the stewards go by with carts full of luscious lobster, prime rib, fresh fruits and vegetables. Finally, he couldn’t stand it any longer. He reached out and grabbed one of the stewards by the arm and begged him for a plate of food. “Please, help me. I’ll go to work, I’ll scrub the deck. I’ll do anything to get something to eat. My cheese and crackers are turning stale, and I’m starving to death.”
“Sir,” the steward replied, “don’t you have a ticket?”
“Yes,” the man stammered, producing his ticket from inside his jacket pocket. Seeing the ticket, the steward pointed out the fine print – All Meals Included!
Many Christians live the way this passenger did on the cruise ship. They are “cheese and crackers” believers, living off rations when they could be dining on steak and baked potatoes. They don’t allow the Holy Spirit to take control of their lives and produce the luscious fruit of the Spirit–love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.Instead they live in spiritual poverty.
For four years I was a “cheese and crackers” Christian. I was doing things my own way, convinced that I needed to grab all of the gusto that this life offered me. I needed the sinful pleasures to be happy. I had my fire insurance, I knew that Jesus had paid for my sins and I would go to heaven when I died. I figured that was all I should really expect. But I found out that God had so much more, Jesus promised me an abundant life, and I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ. Nothing can satisfy like Him. Nothing compares to the blessings that are ours when Jesus is Lord of our life.
In this message, we will look at these blessings and also study the barricades that block us from experiencing them.