The following is an adaptation of the sermon ‘The Anointing’ preached by Pastor Mike White on Sunday, 9/20/2015, at CityLight Church. To listen to the full podcast please click here: http://bit.ly/1PzhCLf
The anointing is absolutely crucial to your ministry. It is both necessary and sufficient for God-inspired change to take place. It also makes the difference between whether your service to God feels like slavery or sonship.
Are you tired? Burned out? Even if you are succeeding at what God has called you to do, are you experiencing joy in your calling? If not, you probably need an increase in the level of the anointing on your life.
To anoint means to “smear or rub with oil, typically as part of a religious ceremony.” We see Scriptural precedent for the anointing as David is anointed King over Israel. The prophet Samuel had passed over all of Jesse’s sons, looking for the future king. But David was out in the field, watching over the flocks:
And Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all the young men here?” Then he said, “There remains yet the youngest, and there he is, keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him. For we will not sit down till he comes here.” So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with bright eyes, and good-looking. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!” Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel arose and went to Ramah. – 1 Sam 16:11-13
As soon as the anointing was administered, David encountered God’s Holy Spirit in a brand new way. From that moment forward, he was not only called and sanctified (set apart) to be king.; he was capable of communicating with God’s Holy Spirit in the manner required for kingship.
We see the fruit of the anointing as David rules over Israel. We see the fruit of the anointing as David communicates with God. We see the fruit of the anointing as David cries out in worship, and his heart’s cries in the Psalms. David was touched by God’s Holy Spirit, and from that moment forward, he would never be the same.
For New Testament Christians, being anointed doesn’t mean we have to go out and ask someone to cover us in oil. The oil is symbolic of God’s Holy Spirit: His manifest presence all over us. For us, the anointing isn’t just something we use, or something we do; it is something we should all love to experience!
The anointing is the manifest presence of God’s Holy Spirit – the presence of God on us to do something. Maybe you’ve felt the anointing all over you as you pray. Perhaps you’ve gotten goosebumps during intimate times of worship when you can just feel God’s presence with every fiber of your being. That is the anointing!
As Christians, we are supposed to experience the anointing all the time. The more steeped you are in the anointing, the more you will see signs, miracles and wonders when you pray. The more covered you are in the anointing of God’s Holy Spirit, the more joy you’ll feel in your calling.
Jesus ministered in the anointing; and if He did it, so should we.
…God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. – Acts 10:38
Jesus ministered with the Holy Spirit and with power because He ministered in the anointing. The fruit of the anointing was good works, healing, and deliverance!
When I started in full-time ministry, our Lead Pastor gave me some very valuable advice: protect the anointing at all costs. We all have unexpected responsibilities that take over our schedules from time to time. We all encounter well-meaning people who just grate on us emotionally. The way we stay close to God’s heart, no matter what comes up, is by staying in the anointing!
When you pray, do you feel God? Can you actually feel His Holy Spirit on your body? Do the hairs on your arms and legs stand on end because of how tangible His presence in on a daily basis? Living in the anointing should not just be some unattainable goal; it should be our constant reality!
What Does the Anointing Do?
The anointing process has its origins in the way a shepherd would care for his sheep. Insects would constantly try to burrow into the ears of a sheep. If they succeeded, it would kill the animal. To prevent the attack, the shepherd would smear oil on the head of the sheep so insects couldn’t reach the ears. If the insect tried to climb to high on the sheep’s head, it would slip down off the sheep – unable to reach the point of entry it needed.
This has direct application for your spiritual life! The primary way Satan will try and knock you off-track from your destiny is by getting into your ears. He will try and burrow into your thought life so he can infect you with lies. If you partner with his lies, it can mean spiritual death. But the anointing keeps you safe! If you stay covered from head to toe in God’s anointing – the oil of gladness, every point of entry the enemy could ever hope to use is completely removed!
The anointing protects you from external attacks. It also delivers you from whatever spiritual oppression is going on inside of you right now. Isaiah prophesied the effect the anointing – the manifest presence of God’s Holy Spirit – would have on all believers:
It shall come to pass in that day that his burden will be taken away from your shoulder, and his yoke from your neck, and the yoke will be destroyed because of the anointing oil. – Is 10:27
God offers to remove every burden from our shoulders at the moment of salvation; all we have to do to experience complete freedom is submit our lives to him, and ask for Him to rescue us in prayer.
But the enemy will always circle back around and try to put you back under duress. He will always try to re-establish the burden from which God has just delivered you.
“When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. – Matt 12:43-45
Once we experience deliverance, if we fail to prize God’s presence the way we should, we can find ourselves oppressed. But staying in the anointing is the way we sustain complete and total victory.
The anointing doesn’t just break the yoke; it destroys it! That means that if you stay in the anointing, none of the enemy’s plans can ever be used against you again!
The Mantle and The Anointing
Many believers fail to understand the difference between a mantle and the anointing. The mantle is the call on your life: something God has given you to carry. The mantle is the productive, Kingdom burden (as opposed to unproductive, demonic burden) you are asked to bear so the borders of heaven can be expanded on earth. Jesus spoke of Kingdom mantles when he talked of “taking up the cross daily” (Lk 9:23).
We see the mantle come into full view as Elijah’s life on earth comes to an end, and his assistant picks up his mantle:
And so it was, when they had crossed over, that Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?” Elisha said, “Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.” So he said, “You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.” Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried out, “My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen!” So he saw him no more. And he took hold of his own clothes and tore them into two pieces. He also took up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood by the bank of the Jordan. Then he took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, and said, “Where is the Lord God of Elijah?” And when he also had struck the water, it was divided this way and that; and Elisha crossed over. – 2 Kings 2:9-14
Spiritually speaking, a mantle can be very heavy. On several occasions in my life, I’ve woken up in the middle of the night and felt a spiritual mantle shifting onto me.
Our Lead Pastor spent this past summer in Montenegro, on a missionary assignment. The Sunday he left, I woke up in the middle of the night, and felt a spiritual heaviness all over me. I knew it wasn’t demonic; but it still didn’t feel good at all. In fact, I felt like I was going to throw up.
I was feeling the spiritual mantle to lead our church while our Lead Pastor was overseas. As soon as I started praying, the anointing kicked in, and all discomfort lifted. I was overcome by joy, and became excited as I felt the burden to pastor our church settle over me.
The mantle can be heavy, but the anointing makes it light. The mantle is the call on your life, and the anointing is the manifest presence of God’s Holy Spirit that makes that call joyful! The anointing lightens every heavy burden – no matter how big or how small! The anointing reminds you that God is always in control, and His Holy Spirit is living in and through you to accomplish all God’s desires!
The mistake we often make as Christians is accepting the mantle – the call on our lives – but refusing the anointing. We say yes to God once and for all, but don’t refresh our dedication to Him on a daily basis. We have a great sense of everything He has called us to do, but we forget that He is the Provider of every resource we could ever need to get the job done!
When we lose the anointing, we lose our joy. But when we revel in the anointing, we will experience joy unspeakable!
Paul reminded the members of the early church that they were all anointed:
For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. – 2 Cor 1:20-22
This morning, I think God wants to issue the same reminder to each and every single one of us.
You are called by God to do amazing things! You are also anointed with His Holy Spirit to perform them! The same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, gives life to your body, and purpose to your actions (Rom 8:11)!
As New Testament Christians, we are no longer held to an impossible standard, and asked to comply using our own strength. Christ in us is the One who accomplishes the work in and through us. Without Him, we can do nothing; but with Him we can accomplish whatever He pleases!
The difference between heaven and hell on earth is whether or not you allow God to do the hard work for you. Allowing yourself to experience and enjoy the anointing – the manifest presence of God’s Holy Spirit – is what will make you a joyful servant of the Lord!
If you try and carry your mantle without the anointing, you will buckle under the weight. But if you allow God’s manifest presence – the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit – to propel you, life will be full of joy!
– by Pastor Mike White
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