Give Me Oil In My Lamp


I had the privilege this past weekend of being a part of an annual youth convention called, Youth Challenge. I serve on the executive committee of Youth Challenge, so I get to be a part of each event from the ground, up. Every year it is exciting to watch God move upon these teenagers and college students and call them into a deeper walk with himself. I don’t remember a year in which God has not manifested his presence in a special way. It’s always a special time! This past weekend was no different. The theme was, Rekindle the Fire. We spent three days focusing on the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. What was most spectacular, was to see hundreds of young people respond to the message of the filling of the Holy Spirit.

As I flew back to Oklahoma City Saturday evening, I was reflecting on the messages I had heard, and the parable of the Ten Virgins came to mind (see Matthew 25:1-13). As I began to consider it, several truths became apparent. Important truths, of which I needed reminding.

1. The Only Difference Was the Oil

As I considered these ten young ladies who had gone to the wedding feast, I realized that they are all described identically the same. They are all described as virgins, they all go to the same wedding, they all carry lamps. There is only one thing that sets them apart. Five took oil with them and five did not. The only difference was the oil.

It is easy for Christians, especially those who have been around the church for a while, to look the part, play the part, but not have the oil of the Holy Spirit’s presence in their lives. 2 Timothy 3:5 describes it this way, “…having a form of godliness but denying its power.” The difference between a Christian who plays the part and one who actually walks the talk, is the filling of the Holy Spirit. Without the oil of his presence filling our lives, we are no different than the world at heart (see 2 Timothy 3:1-9)

2. Everyone’s Lamp Can Grow Dim

As these ten virgins waited for the bridegroom to come, their lamps grew dim. It wasn’t just the foolish virgins whose lamps began to go out; all of their lamps were reduced to a flicker.

Where there used to be a burning zeal in our hearts for the Lord, that zeal can be reduced to a small flame if we are not careful to keep our lamps trimmed and burning. We must guard against carelessness, disobedience, apathy and a myriad of other spiritual forces that would threaten to quench the fire of the Holy Spirit. We all must be tenders of the flame in our souls.

3. We Cannot Borrow Oil

The ten virgins were jolted from their sleep by the announcement, “The bridegroom is coming!” As they scurried about, straightening their robes and trimming their lamps, the five foolish virgins realized that their lamps were going out and they had no reserve. So, they asked the other five to share their oil. But, the five wise virgins refused them because they needed their oil for their own lamps.

Growing up, my pastor used to speak of “splash over blessings.” These were blessings that you received from a brother or sister who encouraged you when you were around them. While encouragement and inspiration from others is good, he would often say, “You can’t live on ‘splash over blessings!'” In other words, you have to have a fire in your own heart. You cannot survive borrowing oil from others. Each believer must maintain a personal, loving and vibrant relationship with God. When was the last time that the Spirit fanned the flame of his presence in your life? If it’s been a while, you need to tend to the flame.

4. Letting the Flame Go Out, Shuts You Out

The most chilling picture in this parable is found in verses 10-11. After the five foolish virgins go to buy oil it says, “the door was shut.” When they returned and asked for entrance into the wedding feast, the Lord said, “I do not know you.” For these five young ladies, letting the flame go out meant they were shut out. It didn’t matter that they had once had a flame brightly burning in their lamps; the Lord did not know them.

Letting the flame of the Holy Spirit go out in our hearts has eternal consequences! That is why Jesus says, “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming” (Matthew 25:13). Tend the flame! Stay full of oil!

Growing up, I sang a song in Sunday School that went like this:

Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burnin’, burnin’, burnin’.

Give me oil in my lamp, I pray.

Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burnin’, burnin’, burnin’.

Keep me burnin’ ’till the break of day.

While this little song never says exactly what the “oil” is, I imagine it to be the oil of the Holy Spirit. My prayer is that the Lord would “give me oil in my lamp”. Lot’s of oil! Enough oil to keep me burning until the bridegroom returns.

When was the last time you received a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit? Leave your comment below.

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All Scripture quotations are from the New King James Version.


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