Fresh Oil


Photo: Ralph Tone

Those of us of a certain age remember the 1973 “Oil Crisis”.  An oil embargo imposed by Arab nations resulted in long lines at gas stations, shortages, hardship and frayed nerves.  Waiting in line for a couple of hours at a gas station provides ample opportunity to meditate on the everyday importance of oil. Consider just a few of its uses…..

Oil lubricates.  A spritz of lubricating oil brings freedom of movement to pieces frozen by time, inactivity and neglect.

Oil combusts.  Before Edison channeled electricity through the carbon filament in his lamp in 1879, homes were illuminated with oil lamps.  For thousands of years a wick saturated with oil and sparked with fire brought light to darkness.

Oil protects.  Without motor oil, the friction between the many moving parts in your car’s engine would soon erode the engine until it became inoperable.  Oil eases the friction and enables the parts to work harmoniously even in high stress environments.

Oil heals. Since the time of the ancient Greeks, olive oil has been a treasured salve for the healing of wounds.  The aptly named “petroleum jelly” is used for skin ailments even today.

The Bible uses oil as an image to reveal the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. Samuel’s anointing of King David is a good example.  Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. (1 Samuel 16:13)

Many churches are in the midst of a spiritual “oil crisis” and are in need of a fresh encounter with the Holy Spirit.  It is the Spirit of God that enlivens our faith, emboldens our witness, warms our worship, informs our understanding, convicts our conscious, comforts our distress, revitalizes our relationships, illuminates our lives and enables us to live with supernatural power.

Oil lubricates rusty faith.  Some who have been Christians for a while have forgotten the joy and power of their “first love” for Jesus.  God’s Spirit never grows old, weak or ineffective. He is the same yesterday, today and forever.  Our faith may grow rusty, but He never does. Allow Him to indwell you with His power as you “walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16).  One moment of God’s power in your life will accomplish far more than even a lifetime of human effort.

Oil combusts and causes darkness to flee.  Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16).  In a world that grows darker by the hour, the Spirit of God in you will illuminate the way of salvation to a lost and dying world. Like the wick in an oil-fueled candle, we are a conduit for God’s light – provided we are saturated with His presence.

Oil protects and reveals the truth of God.  The Spirit of God lives to speak, not about Himself, but about Jesus.  He is the Spirit of Truth (John. 16:13).  Many today have no idea of truth.  Their lives are tossed about by the latest trend, poll, fad or tweet.  The Spirit of Truth, since the time of creation, has been whispering truth from generation to generation.

Oil heals human brokenness.  The Spirit of the Lord binds up the brokenhearted, proclaims freedom for the captives, release from darkness for the prisoners, and oil of joy instead of mourning (Isaiah 61:1-3)

Evidence of His presence include love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).  All of these are essential ingredients for successful living in a fractured world.

Is the crisis that afflicts our lives, relationships and churches actually a present day “oil crisis”?  Many times it is.  Allow God’s Holy Spirit to anoint your life with His power because, our Father in Heaven “gives the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13b)