Natural human experience encounters life on the natural plane, without awareness of spiritual realities. I have addressed this situation a number of ways and here I want to particularly focus on God’s ‘anointing’ as one of those things unknown by non-believers.
In the Old Testament we learn of various people who were endued with supernatural capacity when God’s Holy Spirit came on them. That experience of having spiritual capacity come on them was outside their natural capacities. It was dependent on God speaking to them, empowering them, or otherwise working through them, such as with words of prophecy.
In modern Christian usage we talk about people who have an ‘anointing’ as those who God seems to use to bring something of the heavenly realm into the human sphere. That might be by bringing the peace that passes understanding into hearts that would otherwise be fearful. It might be by causing people to become sensitised to worship of God, or humility before God. It might be that an ‘anointed’ preacher brings the Bible alive in a way that is beyond natural exhorting or exposition. There are many other ways that an anointing might be experienced.
In Churches where it is not uncommon to experience a heightened sense of the divine and where various people might from time to time enhance the spiritual openness of the congregation by what we call an ‘anointing’ or an ability to bring the anointing, then there is an understanding of how sweet it is to enjoy that experience.
In such churches there is also a greater awareness of that which is from man’s energies (maybe called soulish) compared with that which is prompted by God’s Spirit. If you have not tasted an anointing on preaching, prayer, praising God, music, or fellowship, then you would not understand what I am trying to explain here. Let me continue, nonetheless.
A friend told me of the revival style Bible College his father attended many decades ago. Young men were trained in the Bible but also helped to encounter the power of God in their lives. They were each then given opportunity to preach from time to time in a daily morning devotion. Each young man would have his turn stepping to the pulpit and beginning to speak the word of God in a meaningful way to the body of students. The Bible College lecturers sat in the front row and listened. If within a few minutes the lecturers did not sense that the preacher was speaking with God’s anointing he was interrupted and told to sit down.
That sounds terrifying, and it seems horribly stern, but it was probably nothing more than a great commitment to the importance of men of God not doing their own thing, or relying on their natural talents or impressing people with human techniques. It was probably a way of reinforcing to all the students that the Word of God was too precious to be robbed of its potency by man’s tampering with the preaching.
I recently caught up with some ministers who strongly upheld the value of the ‘anointing’. They lamented that in many churches people are too ready to chase what is popularised, such as the latest Christian songs, or what is humanly very impressive, such as a fancy preacher everyone wants to hear, or what has a sense of newness and innovation, rather than things tried and true.
A dear man of God was being discussed who had maintained in his church a constant commitment to finding the anointing. Churches around town were the places to go for the latest songs, or to hear speakers who had the latest popular message, or to keep up with the latest Christian trends. But the man of God turned off to all those things and kept doing what he knew would bring people into the presence of God and to encounter the power of the Word of God, the gospel and the Holy Spirit.
The popular songs came and went and the pop topics passed out of fashion too. Churches with the latest and the greatest had to compete with other churches that tried even harder to be on the cutting edge. But this faithful pastor kept seeing people saved, lives transformed and radical evidence of the power of God in people’s lives, because he valued the anointing.
What characterises such men and women of God is that they put aside their human value system, of what is high standard, impressive, emotionally captivating, or whatever, and they focus on that which brings people into the presence of God.
In the discussion about the man of God I mentioned someone said, “His key was that he kept tapping into the anointing.”
That got me thinking about how often I have allowed myself to be distracted by the story that sounds amazing, the song that sounds impressive, the big name preacher who has the huge following, the book that has become a best seller, and so on. All of those things are human yardsticks for significance. The alternative is to have and enjoy that which God is blessing, even if most people ignore it.
I challenge you to respond as I felt challenged to do, in determining that my life and ministry is about Tapping into the Anointing.