Never Ever Order Vanilla
Dr. James Spinnati
When we were in Pigeon Forge Tennessee this summer we walked into a Baskin-Robbins and just stood there and tried to take in all the flavors that they offer. It was amazing; there was Baseball Nut, Cherries Jubilee, Black Cherry Walnut, Bubblegum, Candy Corn, Creole Cream Cheese, and dozens of others. It seems as if it is a major undertaking just deciding what flavor you would want. And of course we have to sample a few before we make our decision. So Jim what is your point? The point is; why would anyone walk into a Baskin-Robbins and order vanilla? You can get vanilla anywhere! It is bland and it is boring.
Why am I bringing this up? I am bringing it up because many are living vanilla lives when they could be experiencing Love, joy, peace, and mercy through Jesus Christ. In other words they could be living a victorious Christian life! Instead of living above the spiritual poverty level they are living not just below it; they are living under it. They can’t grasp that it is a great day to be a Christian in fact they reject the King of kings and the Lord of lords. It is a shame that many in our area and around the world could be experiencing victorious living and yet they love and lust after mediocrity. One does not have to be living very long on this earth before they see people step up to the counter of life and say, “Give me a half-gallon of bland. Give me a double dip of mediocrity. Give me a sundae covered with blah.” Why do they settle for less? I don’t know; in fact it blows my mind. I know my life has so much abundance that I can’t help but share it with others.
Then there are others who are Christians and yet they are not reaping the bounty that the Lord desires to give them. We often hear John 8:32 quoted. And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. But I’m here to tell you, it’s not the truth that sets you free. There is truth floating all around us, but it will set no one free. People can sit in church buildings, where truth fills the air every time they are assembled, and still not be free. You see, freedom doesn’t come by truth. True freedom is only possible when one knows the truth! Let me prove that to you. You’ve all seen elephants at the circus haven’t you? What keeps them from running all over the place? Well, they have a chain around their leg. Could they break that chain if they really wanted to? Yes, so what’s their problem? They don’t know the truth. When they were young they were chained to a log that they couldn’t move. You see, circus elephants have been programmed. The reason the elephant doesn’t break the chain is not because he doesn’t have the power, it’s because he doesn’t believe he can! Like the elephant many times we have been programmed for defeat. We don’t believe that we can live victoriously, because we really don’t understand what freedom IN CHRIST really is! And until we do, we will never experience true victorious Christian living.
There was a program on television that showed a Northern Pike that was taken out of one of the Great Lakes for an experiment. They put him into a tank and then they dumped a bucket of minnows in. The Pike immediately attacked the minnows and within seconds he ate every one of them. The next day the scientists put minnows back in the tank. Only this time they were protected by a glass container. The Pike banged into the container without any success until finally he gave up and went to the bottom. The very next day the scientists again let minnows swim freely in the tank. What did the Northern Pike do? He just floated on the bottom and didn’t even try to eat the minnows. The funny thing about it was that the minnows swam right past his mouth and he just “sat” there. What was the end of the matter? He eventually starved himself to death, even though life giving food was swimming past his mouth.
That is exactly what is happening to thousands of Christians. They are starving spiritually while just inches away are all the spiritual blessings that they will ever need. Spiritual blessings are floating right past their noses and yet they fail to “feed” on them. Are they floating past yours? Are you ordering vanilla when there are 31 flavors of ice cream just waiting to be tasted? You see, you have to KNOW THE TRUTH, not just hear the truth. You can starve spiritually with spiritual blessings surrounding you. If you don’t understand who you are or whose you are you will be defeated. But if you know who you are then you like Paul can say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” You can live a life that makes a difference to everyone you come in contact with. Start today; after all it is the first day of the rest of your life.