If you want to properly use your anointing for ministry, study the character and life of Samson. Samson got into trouble when he took his powerful anointing for granted
Like Samson, we are vulnerable in various ways. If an individual elevates anointing above character development, the resulting impatience, desire and ambition can lead to failure. In that state we are poor judges of our readiness for ministry. Often when we think we can minister, we still need much growth because we are relying on our own ability. Only when God launches us are we ready, because then we depend upon His ability. Weaknesses of character, which we only seem to overcome under the anointing, can leave us susceptible to the enemy's advances if we forget that they resurface after the power fades. We are headed for failure if we grow so accustomed to the anointing that we believe ourselves to be invincible, or if we believe that the supernatural strength emanating from us is our own rather than God's. The life of Samson bears this out (Judges 13-16).
Samson was not only set apart and consecrated unto God, but also consecrated by God (Judges 13:24). He had the Holy Spirit profoundly present in his life and knew the anointing. He also knew that the key to retaining the anointing was to obey God by letting his hair grow. His hair, which was symbolic of his covering and of his consecration to God, hadn't been cut since he was born. If it were, he would lose the anointing.
As time went on, Samson became accustomed to the Spirit giving him power to defeat the enemy. Samson didn't seem to realize that the anointing rested on him only by God's grace, and required his cooperative response of living a consecrated life. He seemed to develop an arrogant confidence that no matter what he did, God would be with him: "With the jawbone of a donkey I have slain 1,000 men," he declared (Judges 15:16), apparently believing the strength to be his own. His arrogance gave the enemy, who was seeking to destroy him, access to his life.
The enemy used Delilah, a woman Samson loved, to entice him to reveal the key to his anointing. Each time she denounced his lies and pressed in, Samson moved closer to revealing the truth. Finally, frustrated with her persistence, he exposed his secret and invited his own destruction. She had his flowing hair cut. Interestingly enough, the anointing had remained with Samson even when he had tested it earlier with increasingly carnal behaviour. As a result, when his hair was cut he didn't know that the anointing was gone (Judges 16:20). He fought the Philistines, this time was defeated.
They gouged out Samson's eyes, tied him with bronze chains, and threw him into prison forcing him to work the grindstone. He lost his hair, his sight, and his purpose (Judges 16:21). However, there is hope for us all because God will have mercy, (Judges 16:22) and will restore servants who fall. When Samson's hair began to grow back, the anointing returned and God let him be vindicated. While the Philistine lords were celebrating their god Dagon's victory over Samson, they decided to make sport of the blind, weak Samson. Once in the temple, Samson realized he was standing between the pillars on which the building rested. In great reverence, respecting the anointing, he called upon God to strengthen him just once more that he might be avenged (Judges 16:28). Grasping the pillars, he pulled, and the building crashed killing him and thousands of revellers-- more of the enemy than during his life. Even though this was not God's best for Samson, his ministry was fulfilled through God's mercy.
None of us want to endure what Samson did. Knowing we are weak, we can learn to live in God's strength and wisdom. When we minister under the anointing, we should be aware of three areas of vulnerability:
It's important to understand that the enemy doesn't come against us primarily when we're engaged in ministry, but rather after it is over. Then he hits us with depression, fear, discouragement, increased loneliness, fatigue, desire, or takes advantage of other weaknesses.
We must be wise because all our natural functions are subject to this type of deception. For example, when the anointing is on us, we can work, serve, and minister tirelessly, and we seem to be refreshed and strengthened continually. But when it departs, we quickly recognize our human frailty. Then we need rest and refreshment.
This deception also hooks into our natural passion. Fleshly desires seem to "stay on hold" while one ministers under the anointing; later, however, they return more intensely. Feeling lonely and fatigued, the person ministering can be deceived into thinking that satisfying the desire would be acceptable. For this reason it's important for itinerant ministers to take precautions, such as travelling with others who can act as a covering, or limiting their time away from home and having others hold them accountable during ministry trips.
Under the anointing we can also fall prey to imagining we're stronger, better, holier or smarter than others. Or we may believe we're right, or have the right doctrine. The power of the anointing can begin to appear like an endorsement of our doctrine and practices. The bottom line is that we can get to a place where we think we deserve the anointing, or that we've earned it.
Churches, denominations, and ministries can also fall like Samson. They can end up becoming shadows and skeletons of what they were because they didn't recognize that the anointing had departed. They continue to act as though God were with them, but in the process have to exercise a lot more of their own effort.
Movements can drift off course for many reasons. God may lift His manifest Presence when believers begin exalting the move instead of the Mover. The headquarters for any move of God is with the Head, in heaven. If believers establish headquarters on earth, God's anointing will lift. There is no "Mecca" in the Kingdom of God.
A movement may also fail due to exaltation of an individual rather than God Himself. If a leader is exalted either by himself or by those in leadership around him, that leader can be subject to a spirit of control, can become manipulative, and can develop soulish expectations of those around him. A ministry may be diminished if a leader becomes exalted for the revelation God has imparted to them. If people constantly approach a leader for revelation, it can be addictive, and can lead the person to develop a need to be needed. Similarly, if doctrine is exalted, the vessel can begin to believe they have the right doctrine. A corner on truth develops pride.
We won't fail if we remember that the anointing is an expression of Jesus--His strength, His power, His love and His grace. Only God can protect believers from the deception to which we can fall prey while ministering under the anointing. He releases His grace in the fruit of the Spirit (character of Christ), the power of the Spirit (gifts of the Spirit), and wisdom for every facet of church and Kingdom life. He will also reveal our weaknesses to us so we can let God deal with them.
Jesus said, "Satan has nothing in Me." This literally means, Satan has nothing in common with me. Remember your human frailty. Does he have anything in common with you? See yourself as a natural person who knows a supernatural God. Rest, and take time with your family. Pull away, take time with God. Let Him fill you, and allow Him to work His wisdom in you.
We are going for double the anointing this time. Yes, double! What will it look like? The fullness of character and power. Let's co-operate with the work of the cross so that we will have the character to carry the gift and then we will all win.