Matthew 25:1-13 - [Jesus said] "Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, 'Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.' Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the wise answered, saying, 'Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.' And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, lord, open to us.' But he answered, 'Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.' Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour."
What was the problem with these girls? They expected the wedding to go smoothly. But the bridegroom was delayed. And when it was time to play their part, half the girls had run out of oil already. No party for them!
These poor, silly girls didn't miss out on too much—a single party! But Jesus is warning us about a greater loss that we could experience, if we aren't prepared to meet Him.
One of the hardest things about being a Christian is how long it takes! Even in Christianity, the first flush of faith grows cold sooner or later—if we aren't careful. As we walk through life doing the same old things over and over, our hearts may become tired and cold. Facing the same old temptations ... repenting the same old sins ... facing, not persecution or suffering—because that might be interesting!—but the same old problems once again. It's easy to lose heart. It's easy to lose sight of Jesus. The long haul is too much for us. And then we face Jesus unprepared—out of oil, out of faith, out of life. That doesn't bear thinking about!
So how do we avoid it? What was the difference between the wise girls and the foolish ones? The wise ones had oil to fuel their lamps. Oil in the Bible is often a symbol for the Holy Spirit, and that makes sense in this story, because there's no way on earth our faith in Jesus will last unless the Holy Spirit is the One fueling it.
If we rely on our own efforts, we will get nowhere—like the poor foolish girls trying to light a wick by itself, with no oil in the lamp. But if the Holy Spirit is living in us, we can walk safely through the darkness to meet our Bridegroom, Jesus, who died and rose to make us His own. The Lord is Light for us, and He will never run out.
WE PRAY: Lord Holy Spirit, be with me and fuel my faith always. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. How have you changed since you were first a Christian?
2. Do you expect your future faith life to be easy? Why or why not?
3. How did the Lord bring you through a hard time in your life?
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