Paul said: "For I always pray to the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that He may grant a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, by having the eyes of your heart flooded with light, so that you can know and understand the hope to which He has called you, and how rich is His glorious inheritance in the saints." (Eph 1:17-18)
Since anointing is a mystical concept, it can be hard to define. But we can understand it by looking at how anointing was used. In the Old Testament God used types (allegories, parables, and metaphors) to illustrate what will happen in the New Testament Church when we reign with Him in His Kingdom by the power of the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
In the Old Testament, the anointing was demonstrated by use of the holy anointing oil. Three Old Testament words, nashach meaning "to rub", suk meaning "to pour out", and balal meaning "to overflow", can be used to describe how God applies the Holy Spirit to us.
First, God rubs the anointing all over us. David said, "He has anointed my head with oil and my cup is running over." This literally means, "I'm anointed by the fat of the anointing until I'm good and greasy."
- Next God fills us with the anointing causing us to be broken and poured out. The word for pouring out implies that you can release the anointing yourself. You can allow the anointing to rise within you, and you don't need someone else to anoint you. That's not to say that God won't have you increase the anointing by someone laying hands on you, but if you are Spirit-filled, the anointing is in you.
- Finally the anointing overflows from you to bring in the harvest. This is illustrated by Ezekiel's vision of the river flowing from God's throne. First it was ankle-deep, then knee- deep, then waist-deep, and finally above his head. When the river was head-deep, Ezekiel saw that it was full of fish -- a great harvest.
We're in the hour when God has opened the gates and is allowing the river to run -- the waters of revelation from God's Word. Next is the cleansing of the Church, His temple, so that rivers of living water will run out of it for the harvest.
In the New Testament we learn that the anointing is the Holy Spirit Himself, and is symbolized by the use of olive oil. James told believers who were sick to ask the elders to anoint them with oil and pray. But this doesn't mean that because someone greased your forehead, you're anointed. This is God's work and the use of olive oil indicates submission to the Holy Spirit. The Greek word aleipho refers to this submission.
After a cleansing bath, people once applied oil. Similarly, the oil of the Spirit can't be applied to a dirty vessel, and sinners can't be anointed. The blood of Jesus must cleanse their sins so that oil can be applied to a clean body.
Like oil after a bath, the Spirit softens and soothes us making us teachable, leadable and meek. He operates deep within, taking away soreness, letting stiff knees and elbows bend in worship. The oil of the Spirit softens tough, hard skin and removes scars even from the toughest men, freeing us from dwelling on past abuse. We can get under the spout of the Holy Spirit, become saturated with His oil, and let God free us from the pain that holds us back.
Anointing makes gentlemen out of men, and ladies out of women. God Himself rubs it on, in and through us using the sweet, fragrant oil of the Spirit that makes us attractive to others.
The Administration of the Kingdom
God anoints us with the oil of the Spirit in order to administrate the Kingdom in us and through us. The Kingdom of God operates in every believer to the measure of their yeildeness to His Spirit. It functions under the guidance of the divine administrator who wants to bring your spirit into harmony with the values of His Kingdom.
He gives us the oil of joy for mourning, courage instead of cowardice, contentment instead of murmuring, triumph instead of defeat. He fills us with love instead of jealousy, guides us into prayer instead of anxiety, and launches us into progress rather than stagnation. Under the anointing we have a testimony rather than darkness, we become useful rather than slothful, clean instead of defiled, holy instead of worldly, and Christlike instead of selfish. Finally, He gives us victory even over death because He quickens our mortal bodies to eternal life.
Effects of the Anointing
In some cases we may not even be aware of the anointing on us, but others will notice. We'll just think we're light-bearers. Under the anointing we will radiate joy and festivity. We won't go around singing: Tedious and tasteless is the hour since Jesus no longer I see. Hold on a little while longer, soon we'll be set free. We're outta here one night. We'll escape and take flight. We belong to God's despised and few. The Church had that mentality until revelation came. Now we're anxious to be in God's flow. We want to do what God wants us to do before He takes us out. We want the world to see Jesus in the Church, and we want to see the Church filled with God's glory before it goes home.
God gives the anointing so we can do the things we can't do on our own, preach, hold forth the Word of life, pray for deliverance, shine forth in Godly character and do the work of Christ with compassion. The anointing impregnates us with the living Word, the incorruptible seed that gives life, so that we can give life to others.
Serving Him sets our priorities right. My world changed, and so will yours when you begin to serve God for who He is, and not for what He does for you. He said to me once, "If you serve Me just for what I do for you, you could serve the devil if he paid higher wages."
The anointing leads us to understand that the greatest among us is a servant who acts in love, and not with gritted teeth. It also prepares us for service as a servant. The Spirit of the family of God to which we belong is that of a servant. The last message Jesus preached through an action of love took place when He washed the disciples' feet. The anointing appoints us to kingship and endows us with supernatural power. It consecrates us as prophets, priests and kings, and it destroys yokes, sanctifies, preserves and heals. The anointing helps us see and know what is invisible to the world -- the greatness of God, of eternity, and of our inheritance in Christ.
We can wax eloquent preaching the best homilies based on sound hermeneutics and analysis, but without the anointing we can't change people's lives or break yokes. God anoints us to teach people His Word and to do what only He can do. Let's quit saying we can't do it. Let's give in, turn loose, and release the anointing that's in us.