BURNING THE WICK OR BURNING THE OIL?
"'Not by might or by power, but by My Spirit,' says the LORD of Hosts." Zechariah 4:6
I heard something the other day from a very well-known and respected pastor. He talked about ministry being “so incredibly hard.” He was doing great work for God, reaching lots of people for Christ, but he was SO WORN OUT in the process. Can you relate? Does it seem as if the things God calls you to do are SO INCREDIBLY HARD?
As I thought about that statement, I started to wonder if this pastor was unknowingly burning the wick instead of the oil.
Everyone knows when you light a candle, the wax candle begins to melt and consume itself as it burns. An oil powered lamp, however, does not consume itself. It can burn and burn and burn with no ill-effects. It can shine as long as there is oil in the lamp.
THE HOLY SPIRIT
Isn’t it interesting that one of the key symbols in the Bible for the Holy Spirit is oil. Anointing was done with oil to symbolize the Spirit of God coming upon a person - “Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him [David] in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward” (1 Sam. 16:13).
God saved us to walk in the infinite power of the Holy Spirit, not in the puny power of our own human strength. Jesus said, “Come to Me all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My load is light” (Matt. 11:28-30). When you feel worn out … when you feel as if this Christian life is just SO INCREDIBLY HARD … you are doing it in your own strength, and you need to come to Jesus.
Quit burning the wick and start burning the oil. Of course we will still get tired, but the work will NEVER feel like a heavy, exhausting chore. It will be exhilarating … and you will feel the power from on high when the Holy Spirit is filling your life and providing the energy.
A SIMPLE PRAYER
Maybe you are heavy-laden today. Maybe you need to pray this simple prayer:
Lord, I am so worn out trying so hard to please You and do Your will. It is obvious to me that I am burning the wick … and I need to start burning the oil. Jesus, you have invited me to come to You. You want to give me rest. You want to live through me, not just live in me. Right now, Jesus, I surrender my will to Your will. Fill me with Your Spirit and Your power. I yield control of every area of my life to You. In Jesus’ name.
That prayer, prayed from a humble, believing heart makes all the difference in the world! Remember, anytime you feel burdened, weighed down, and overwhelmed in your Christian life, you need to blow out the candle and light the lamp!
P.S. If you would like us and people around the world to join you in prayer, leave your prayer request now on our PrayerWorks page.
Jeff Schreve is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Texarkana, Texas. He and his wife Debbie have been married for over 20 years and are blessed with three wonderful girls. Jeff began From His Heart Ministries, a radio and television ministry, in January of 2005. This ministry is completely listener/viewer supported. It continues only through the faithful and generous gifts of people like you. Pastor Jeff takes no salary from this ministry. All gifts go to further the broadcast.
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