We need to learn to save the first place in our hearts and lives and time for Jesus. We belong to Him first of all, and the first place must belong to Him—for rest and prayer and fellowship with Jesus, and for feeding from His Word. We cannot do the Master’s work without the Master’s power—and to get it, we must spend time with the Master. Then we must let Him do the work through us. Many people give their needs and problems to the Lord in prayer, but then turn around and try to meet those needs and solve those problems on their own, without depending on the Lord to work on their behalf.
We ought to take a lesson from the oil lamp: It must be the oil that burns and not the wick, for if the wick burns without oil, it will destroy itself. We must immerse ourselves in Jesus and let Him burn to light the way, because if we try to do that ourselves, we’ll soon burn out.
The flame of the lamp burns so beautifully and brightly and clearly when the oil burns, but it gets smoky and stinky when just the wick burns. The lamp’s wick must be deeply immersed in the oil. Most of the wick is in the oil, and only a tiny tip of it is exposed to the air and the flame. That way, it’s mostly oil that burns and very little of the wick—almost none. The oil flows freely through a wick that is deeply soaked in the oil. Then it is the oil that burns and not the wick, and it gives bright, pure, clear light.
“It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). It is not I that burn, but Christ must burn within me. You can be a beautiful wick, but you’ll burn black with too little oil. You must soak yourself in the oil, so you burn not, but He burns through you. Then you ‘ll give pure light, smokeless light, clear light, beautiful light to all that are in the house (Matthew 5:15-16).
When I was a boy, they had beautiful kerosene lamps in every home, on every table. They had lovely glass bowls for the oil, so you could see their wicks and the level of the oil and knew when to replenish them. The lamp burned best when full of oil. When the level got low, too much of the wick would be out of the oil for the wick to be thoroughly soaked. Then the wick itself would begin to burn faster, and the lamp would give off smoke. We sometimes try too hard, work too hard, and try to do everything ourselves. To paraphrase the chorus of an old Gospel song:
Let go and let God have His wonderful way,
Let go and let God have His way.
He’ll fill with His Spirit and burn day by day.
Let go and let God have His way!
Most people don’t know much about oil lamps anymore, but something that everyone can relate to is a water faucet. When you turn on a faucet, is the faucet “working”? No, it’s not! The faucet is doing nothing. It’s pressure behind the water that causes it to flow through the faucet. All you do is turn the handle on the faucet, and the water flows out with effortless ease. The faucet is just the channel, just a hole, to let the water out. You say the faucet’s working? The faucet is not working. It’s the water pressure that is doing the work. The faucet is just letting it flow. The power isn’t in the faucet; the power comes from the gravity feed or pump. The pump or the weight of the water in a tank creates pressure in the water pipe, so all you have to do is turn the tap to release it, and out it flows. You’re like the faucet; the Lord is the water pressure. Just open the faucet and let it flow!
So stop trying to do the work yourself, and let God do it. Let go and let God! Just let the Lord through. Let the oil burn. Let the water flow. Let the Lord do it!