Trim Your Lamps
Updated: Aug 25, 2022
Too many real Christians grow remiss, and one degree of carelessness makes way for another. Those that allow themselves to slumber, will scarcely keep from sleeping.
"And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.”- Romans 13:11,12
Trim Your Lamps
"Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.” - Matthew 25:1-6
The circumstances of the parable of the ten virgins were taken from the marriage customs among the Jews, and explain the great day of Christ's coming. As Christians we profess to be waiting for Christ’s coming. This parable is given to underscore the importance of being ready for Christ’s return in any event – even if He delays longer than expected. For when He does return, there will be no second chances for the unprepared.
Let’s examine the symbolism used in the parable.
The groom is symbolic of Jesus. The arrival of the groom is the second coming of Jesus.
The ten virgins
The 10 virgins are symbolic of the church. The wise were ready to meet him, the foolish (thoughtless/stupid) were not. Sincere Christians are the wise virgins, and hypocrites the foolish ones. Those are the truly wise or foolish that are so in the affairs of their souls. Many have a lamp of profession in their hands, but have not, in their hearts, sound knowledge and settled resolution, which are needed to carry them through the services and trials of the present state. Their hearts are not stored with holy dispositions, by the new-creating Spirit of God. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven”. –Matthew 5:16 Our light must shine before men in good works; but this is not likely to be long done, unless there is a fixed, active principle in the heart, of faith in Christ, and love to God and our brethren.
All ten of these virgins are symbolic of people who proclaim to be Christians in this world. What is wrong? He (Jesus) is coming back for a church that is without spot or wrinkle. Where is this bride without spot or wrinkle to be found?
There is such irreverence in the Church today that if Jesus was to visit, the first thing He would do, is clean house. He did that with the money changers and the dove sellers once before, because they were defaming the temple. Jesus explained to them then that the church is a House of Prayer. You cannot purchase the Holy Spirit. If you desire the Holy Spirit truly, “how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”-Luke 11:13
In the ancient Temple era the Aaronic priests were in charge of lighting the lamp of God and keeping it burning. Their main responsibilities included trimming the wicks, refilling the lamp constantly with fresh oil, and making sure it never burned out.
Are you feeling burned out? Then trim your wick by getting rid of the useless things in your life and diving deeper into His Word. Are you feeling spiritually drained? Then wait on the Lord and ask Him for a fresh anointing. Bearing the light of God is the responsibility of all true believers; you are the bearer of that light; so be reignited today and keep your lamps burning bright for Him. Let's be wise virgins, anxiously awaiting His return!
“But the wise took oil”: The oil is symbolic of the Holy Spirit. When a person is born again, they receive the Holy Spirit, thus will have oil in their lamp. This is a believer who understands that he can do nothing on his own but is totally dependent upon God for His righteousness and anointing and on God’s word for truth, comfort and strength.
Daily renewed by Christ, will supply the lamp of a profession well. This they had in their vessels, their oil vessels; by which are meant their hearts.
This parable is a warning to the entire body -- be ready with your oil! Each of these virgins was anticipating the Lord's return; none were atheists, or non-believers. They were all virgins who claimed to be awaiting the Bridegroom's arrival. But notice carefully that only half of them were truly ready.
We see a division. The extra oil that they took was what created a separation of the two. The Holy Spirit is the oil. The wise Christians had the Holy Spirit, and the foolish did not.
They all slumbered and slept.
“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light." - Romans 13:11,12
The delay represents the space between the real or apparent conversion of these professors, and the coming of Christ, to take them away by death, or to judge the world. But though Christ tarry past our time, he will not tarry past the due time. The wise virgins kept their lamps burning, but they did not keep themselves awake. Too many real Christians grow remiss, and one degree of carelessness makes way for another. Those that allow themselves to slumber, will scarcely keep from sleeping; therefore dread the beginning of spiritual decays.
At midnight a startling summons was given. Go ye forth to meet Him, is a call to those prepared. The notice of Christ's approach, and the call to meet him, will awaken. Even those best prepared for death have work to do to get actually ready, 2 Peter 3:14. It will be a day of search and inquiry; and it concerns us to think how we shall then be found.
Some wanted oil to supply their lamps when going out. Those that wake up short of true grace, will certainly find the want of it one time or other. An outward profession may light a man along this world, but the damps of the valley of the shadow of death will put out such a light. Those who care not to live the life, yet would die the death of the righteous. But those that would be saved, must have grace of their own; and those that have most grace, have none to spare. The best need more from Christ. And while the poor alarmed soul addresses itself, upon a sick-bed, to repentance and prayer, in awful confusion, death comes, judgment comes, the work is undone, and the poor sinner is undone forever. Those, and those only, shall go to heaven hereafter that are made ready for heaven here. The suddenness of death and of Christ's coming to us then, will not hinder our happiness, if we have been prepared.
The door was shut. Many will seek admission into heaven when it is too late. The vain confidence of hypocrites will carry them far in expectations of happiness. The unexpected summons of death may alarm the Christian; but, proceeding without delay to trim his lamp, his graces often shine more bright; while the mere professor's conduct shows that his lamp is going out. Watch therefore, attend to the business of your souls. Be in the fear of the Lord all the day long.
Christ keeps no servants to be idle. The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. The day of account comes at last. We must all be reckoned with as to what good we have got to our own souls, and have done to others, by the advantages we have enjoyed. It is not meant that the improving of natural powers can entitle a man to Divine grace. It is the real Christian's liberty and privilege to be employed as his Redeemer's servant, in promoting his glory, and the good of his people: the love of Christ constrains him to live no longer to himself, but to Him that died for him, and rose again. Those who think it impossible to please God, and in vain to serve him, will do nothing to purpose in religion. They complain that He requires of them more than they are capable of, and punishes them for what they cannot help. Whatever they may pretend, the fact is, they dislike the character and work of the Lord.
There is a judgment to come, in which every man shall be sentenced to a state of everlasting happiness, or misery. Christ shall come in his own glory, as Mediator. The wicked and godly here dwell together, in the same cities, churches, families, and are not always to be known the one from the other; such are the weaknesses of saints, such the hypocrisies of sinners; and death takes both: but in that day they will be parted forever.
Jesus Christ is the great Shepherd; he will shortly distinguish between those that are his, and those that are not. All other distinctions will be done away; but the great one between saints and sinners, holy and unholy, will remain forever. The happiness the saints shall possess is very great. It is a kingdom prepared. The Father provided it for them in the greatness of his wisdom and power; the Son purchased it for them; and the blessed Spirit, in preparing them for the kingdom, is preparing it for them. It is prepared for them: it is in all points adapted to the new nature of a sanctified soul. It is prepared from the foundation of the world.
The wicked in this world were often called to come to Christ for life and rest, but they turned from his calls. Condemned sinners will in vain offer excuses. The punishment of the wicked will be an everlasting punishment; their state cannot be altered. Thus life and death, good and evil, the blessing and the curse, are set before us, that we may choose our way, and as our way so shall our end be.