Getting a Powerful Anointing
"As He sent me, so I send you." (John 20:21)
Have you ever seen a man of God in action operating in the gift of working of miracles? Usually, its all over in a few seconds! A few words of command are uttered in Jesus' name, and the person discovers they are well again! What a wonderful way to glorify Jesus Christ! And it seems to happen so simply, so quickly. But at the same time, another man or woman says similar words over a sick or suffering person, and nothing seems to happen. What is the difference? The difference lies in the action of the Holy Spirit. It is actually the Holy Spirit who works the miracle.
Think about it. The same words are spoken. In one case, a miracle takes place, in another, nothing seems to happen. Perhaps over time if this continues, doubt and frustration begin to set in.
If the Holy Spirit does not work with us, nothing is going to happen, and we will dishonor the name of Jesus. Jesus is the Christ, which means, the Anointed One. Like Jesus, we need to be anointed with the Holy Spirit and with power. Jesus did no miracles on earth before he was anointed with power, and neither will we.
The Bible says we have an anointing - but how strong is it?
"But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things" (1 John 2:20).
I think this Scripture, like many others, such as "we have the mind of Christ" speaks of a potential we have as Christians. It was written in the context of the gnostic teachers who pretended to have a special knowledge not available to all. John wanted to repudiate this false idea. This Scripture is not an encouragement to think we "know it all" or we don't need to learn anything from true Teachers in the Body of Christ. But it is telling us we have access to all knowledge, through God. In the same way, the anointing is open to all.
The Scripture says here that we have an anointing. The anointing is part of our inheritance as Christians. But it doesn't come to us automatically. Like so many things, we need to pursue this part of our inheritance in God. Otherwise we will never really enjoy it. A strong anointing makes a big difference in the life of a Christian. There is a big difference between those powerfully anointed, and those who are not. You can see the difference in results. You can see the difference in fruitfulness. A powefully anointed and obedient Christian can be literally thousands of times more fruitful for God than a Christian that is content to live in mediocrity.
There are various different anointings.
All Christians can move in the anointing God has given them if they cultivate it. However not all Christians are called to get involved in the same things to the same extent. The anointing you develop depends on your calling and giftings in God. 1 Corinthians 12 makes this very clear. We are a body, and have different giftings. If you are called to be a prophet but not an evangelist, you will never be able to win souls as well as a similarly dedicated evangelist who goes after the anointing like he or she should. But the evangelist will never be able to do all you do either. This is just one example. The Body of Christ needs people with functions and enablings, and we should not compare ourselves to one another. If you want to compare yourself with someone, compare yourself with Jesus.
The anointing you receive depends on what God has purposed for you, and what you are consecrated to. Some are anointed to be Teachers, others Pastors, others Evangelists, others as Prophets. You may be called and anointed in one of these areas, but you must consecrate yourself to it, and find ways to develop your anointing. You will not enter into the fulness of that ministry immediately. My advice to you is not to assume the title unless plenty of others have recognised it in you first.
Apart from anointings for the five fold ministry (see Ephesians 4:11 for the listing and purpose of these), anointings are available from God for administration, music, counselling, business, soulwinning, various ministries in particular gifts and callings of the Spirit such as mercy ministry, divine healing and other aspects. Not everyone will be anointed in the same way, to the same degree or to the same purpose. Its up to God, but if we have been proven faithful in one area, God may anoint us in another also. And God never starts someone off by fully anointing them as an apostle. It normally takes years for a true apostle to be formed by the Lord, though the evidence of the call may be out there for people to see even in early years. If someone needs to call themselves an apostle before people can realise they are one, they are not an apostle.
A man or woman with a powerful anointing who knows how to work with God to release the power of the Holy Spirit effectively gets results that help people. These results will glorify Jesus Christ. We are called to help people, and all of us need to be equipped to be able to do that. If a person is not saved, the best way to help them is to reveal Christ to them so that they will believe in Him and call upon Him. Normally, you will need to tell them the gospel somehow. You may need to do some spiritual warfare on their behalf also.
All of us are called to be soldiers of Jesus Christ. And all soldiers need to know how to take up the armour of God, and use the weapons of God. I would liken the knowledge of how to cast out demons to basic training in the use of a gun. A gun can get spectacular results, but you have to know how to use it.
We are all called to be equipped to DO THE WORK OF THE MINISTRY. This includes talking about Jesus, and getting prayer answers where we minister to people's felt needs in Jesus' name. A powerfully anointed person gets results in the area of casting out demons and laying hands on the sick. This is for ALL Christians who believe in it, not just for apostles, prophets and evangelists.
But this is all just so much talk unless ways can be found for Christians to actually get the power of God on their lives, and start to move in a powerful anointing. This is the subject of the remainder of this message.
How To Get A Powerful Anointing on Your Life
What do we mean by an anointing? Strictly speaking, it represents the first time the Spirit of God comes upon you to give you a certain ability in a certain area to do something for the Lord. You may feel this anointing in different ways. It can be felt as a warmth, as a tingling, or in many other ways. It can also be there when you don't feel it, but normally you'd go through times when you feel the anointing before you have the confidence to do the things that only the true anointing of God would enable you to do. The key to getting a powerful anointing on your life is
We must consecrate ourselves to God. This is the actual giving of ourselves to God. True consecration involves presenting our bodies to God as a living sacrifice (see Romans 12:1). It is only after we do this that we can know the mind of God, and do the will of God using the giftings of God appointed to us.
Consecration implies devotion. It has to do with the way we spend our time, what we get involved in, and also what we don't get involved in.
A consecrated person devotes their time as much as possible to pursuing God and the purposes of God for their life. God wants us to consecrate our lives as much as possible to prayer. He wants us to consecrate ourselves to His purposes. Our purpose on earth is to be involved with and support the work of soulwinning and helping people to stay in Christ. We may also be here to prove our loyalty to God, to pass some tests. There is no other reason for us to remain here. All other important things like worship and fellowship will be done in heaven better than we can do them here. We should worship and fellowship here on earth of course, but these things in themselves will not substitute for doing the work of God for which we are anointed. By the time we get to heaven, it will be too late to win more souls, and we won't need the power to drive out demons, as there won't be any there to drive out.
It is now that by working with the Holy Spirit we can make an eternal impact in the lives of others. The more pure and potent our anointing becomes, the better equipped we are to do the will of God on earth.
Examine yourself. Are you truly consecrated to the Lord? Have you given yourself to the Lord without reserve? Are you pursuing God in prayer seriously? Or are you pursuing other goals of your own that God never told you to pursue? Life is to precious to be wasted simply following the natural impulses of your own heart. We cannot be the best soulwinner we can be, or the most effective intecessor or communicator of love and truth to God's people, while we have more regard for the things of the world that we can see on the television. We cannot be the world's greatest stamp collector, or hunter of foxes, or movie buff, or player of computer games and still reach our full potential in Christ.
In the matter of career, are we following the call of God? I suppose I could have been a great computer scientist or hi-tech entrepreneur, but it was not the call of God for my life. You can't pursue all your natural possibilities if you want to be anointed by God to walk in God's best. Years ago I had to renounce the career I desired as an adolescent to devote myself instead to the things of God. It doesn't mean I never worked in computers, but I had to die to it. Its not a real passion in my life. I gave up a lot of financial possibilities in the process. For many years I had nothing to do with computers, and it was a disappointment to me when it seemed I had to return to work in that area for a period of time. The truth is, that after you consecrate yourself to God and the things of God, you begin to identify with David the Psalmist who said, "My soul longs for the courts of the Lord." You just want to be in God's presence, and to do the work of God. Its no longer such a sacrifice when you taste the goodness of God, and experience the satisfaction and thrill of being part of his Eternal purposes worked through the anointing in your life.
What Does Consecration Mean?
Actually, our baptism in water should have been a commitment "unto all righteousness" (Matthew 3:15), but the extent of awareness that people have of this when they are baptized in water varies greatly. Water baptism symbolises death to the old nature and its desires, and a commitment to walk in the newness of life made possible by the Spirit of God and the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
However, God often needs to call us again to consecration, because at times we have not lived our life according to the promise that our baptism represented. This could be due to distractions which creep in under various justifications, often during times of personal pain and disappointment. These distractions can grow into alternative interests which claim an allegiance of their own over our lives. These interests may have nothing to do with what God may be saying or desiring for us, and they take us away from prayer, which is communion with God. This in turn leads to coldness, formalism and loss of power in the things of God. Even before this happens, it is time for a renewed call to consecration to be heard by the people of God.
Consecration is not really about coming to the front of a church. But coming to the front of a church can represent the promise of consecration. God, who sees the hearts of all, knows if the promise is being made sincerely.
Consecration is our part, but the work of the Holy Spirit in response to consecration is NOT our work. It is GOD who works in us, both to will and to do His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). Our consecration has meaning in our daily lives as we learn to depend on the Holy Spirit, to wait for Him before acting, as well as to pursue Him in prayer and with the Word of God when we do not sense His clear leading. What we need is a commitment to move with God in all we do, even in our prayer life, just as Jesus Himself did. That is the meaning of consecration to the Christian.
It is in times of prayer and seeking God that God speaks to our heart. We come to know things by revelation knowledge in the deepest part of our being. Things like the authority that exists in the name of Jesus must be learned THERE - at the level of our spirit, rather than merely at the level of our mind, though both are important. Real faith comes as the fruit of a true personal relationship with God. It is during times of seeking Him that He draws nears to us and shows us things in a way that produces faith and understanding. This faith gives us the confidence to take further steps for the Lord.
At the same time, as we seek God in prayer, and often with fasting, we will grow to sense the power of God. Please allow me to say that the quantity of prayer God desires from us is normally not possible by simply praying with the understanding. We not only need to receive the prayer language from God which comes when we are baptized in the Holy Spirit as the Christians were in the Book of Acts. We also need to USE that prayer language for many hours over many months and years to build ourselves up and be constantly empowered for the works of service which involve things that CANNOT work without the direct action of the Holy Spirit through our lives.
Fasting means going without food (though normally continuing to drink water or maybe juice in some cases). Christians do it to seek God and get in line with God.
Fasting expresses and tests our consecration. It is during fasting that God brings issues to light. During times of fasting, God comes close to us, but so do demons. We enter into spiritual warfare, and our endurance and love for the Lord is tested. Fasting heats things up in us and things that are blocking the flow of God in our lives become obvious, and we have to deal with them if we want to move on. Fasting is a means of waiting for the power of God.
God said he would give revival and healing to a nation where the people of God humble themselves, pray, seek God's face and turn from their wicked ways. Fasting helps to humble our flesh and give us the perspective of God on things in our own life. It is therefore a major key to revival and healing.
Getting A Knowledge of How Things Work and Renew the Mind in certain areas
To be effective in destroying the works of the devil, you have to realise that some things ARE the work of the devil. You need to believe Acts 10:38 if you want a powerful healing ministry. God is good, and Jesus wants to heal all those who are oppressed by the devil through US, His body today. We are getting equipped to do this. It will soon become a chain reaction. When we do this ministry, we are doing it in His name and authority. So we need to know the character of God, His goodness, and His justice and judgments. We must study the Word of God and meditate on it in certain areas in order for the anointing to take strong hold of our lives. The Holy Spirit works together with the word of God. We must devote ourselves to learning as well as praying if we want the anointing to be strong in our life.
Embracing The Cross
To truly have a strong anointing, we must make decisions that lead to embracing the pain of self-denial and sometimes the pain of persecution and rejection. We must obey God when we would rather just do something to feel ok. We must make the Lord's Kingdom our priority, and forsake the love of the world. All these things come through an acceptance that the cross means an end to our old life. We need to consent to the working of the cross in our life. Otherwise, we cannot share in the reality of the newness of life. All we will be able to do is talk about it - we will never live it if we don't embrace the cross.
God showed things to Jesus because Jesus always did the will of the Father. God has given the Holy Spirit "to those who obey Him" (Acts 5:32). We need to be sure to do whatever it is that God shows us to do. That is the key to releasing the anointing.
Persistence and Endurance
These factors cannot be overemphasized. You need to persist in prayer even when it seems boring, or when it seems painful to the flesh. Sometimes our bodies will be physically tired, sometimes our emotions will be over wrought. We have to care for ourselves as well, but there will be moments of stress in the midst of pursuing God. We cannot take it too easy, because the powers of darkness are always looking for an opportunity to trip us up, or get us cold towards God and the things of God.
The Bible says, "let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us." (Hebrews 12:2)
"For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise" (Hebrews 10:36).
Its not always going to be easy. Sometimes its going to be tough going. We are going to get knocked about at times. Paul said, "we are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed - always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body" (2 Corinthians 4:8-9). This shows us how life will be in front line ministry. It is not something for the faint hearted or undedicated, but truly there is no greater life, and God will anoint us mightily as we go through the storms of life, if we follow the principles above and draw near to God in spirit and in truth.
To be like Jesus, and to do the work of the ministry as originally revealed in the Holy Scripture, we need to cultivate a mighty anointing. This will require real dedication to God, and real sacrifice. After we have attained a measure of the anointing, a new set of challenges arise in how to maintain it and take it even further, without falling into one of the many snares of satan - such as greed, pride or lust. People everywhere are hurting, people everywhere are in need of someone to shine a light strong enough that people see Jesus at work in them.
Will you consecrate your life to God in the total consecration the Scriptures speak of, so that you might have a powerful anointing from God and serve your generation in the will of God?