Spirit of Grace Ministries
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Spirit of Grace Ministries
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Anointing for Non-preachers

construction worker

by Dennis Pollock

You seldom hear the word anointing except among evangelical Christians. We who love Jesus and honor the Scriptures tend to use it a lot, mostly to describe  dynamic sermons and especially lively church services. Far too often the idea of anointing is only thought of in terms of preachers. Carpenters, plumbers, and insurance salesman should expect no such anointing. They should leave such things to the professional, full-time servants of God. No sense expecting anointing for ordinary folks who hammer nails, fix leaky pipes, or sit at computers all day long. This may sound reasonable but it is in fact decidedly and blatantly false. The truth is that the anointing of the Holy Spirit is both necessary and provided for every believer, regardless of profession, age, or gender.

What is it?

The idea of anointing first shows up in the Scriptures as God is establishing the order of the priests in the days of Moses. In those days a specially formulated anointing oil was used to consecrate the priests and establish them in their position. It started with Aaron. God told Moses: "And you shall take the anointing oil, pour it on his head, and anoint him" (Exodus 29:7). The anointing with oil was to set him in his office as a high priest before God. Later Moses is told:

And you shall take some of the blood that is on the altar, and some of the anointing oil, and sprinkle it on Aaron and on his garments, on his sons and on the garments of his sons with him; and he and his garments shall be hallowed, and his sons and his sons' garments with him. (Exodus 29:21)

The blood and the anointing oil hallowed (made holy) Aaron and his sons. They then became acceptable for God's temple service. Anyone familiar with the New Testament will recognize that the blood of animals and the anointing oil used in the Old Testament are symbols for the blood of Jesus and the anointing of the Holy Spirit that we relate to under the New Covenant. New Covenant believers are even called priests as we read in Revelation: "To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father…" (Revelation 1:5,6). Regardless of your profession, if you are in Christ you are a priest and a king. You are the means by which men and women may discover God and become His children.

Jesus led the way for us. He began His ministry in His home synagogue at Nazareth by announcing that He was anointed: "The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor…" (Luke 4:18). Until this anointing, Jesus stayed home and made no efforts at public ministry. He dared not exercise His priestly ministry without the necessary and promised prerequisite. But once the anointing came upon Him, He was off and running, going about healing the sick, driving out demons, blessing the children, and proclaiming good news to the poor.

So what is the anointing? It is the Holy Spirit's power working within, upon, and through us, which equips us for God's service. It is an absolute necessity for all who would go about the Master's business; without it we are unfit for the service of God. Jesus made this plain when He strictly told His disciples: "Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high" (Luke 24:49). After spending over three years living with Jesus and feeding on His marvelous teachings, they were still not fully equipped to be His witnesses. They must wait for the anointing.

The Non-preachers

The great majority of Christians are not and will never be preachers. They are to be witnesses of Christ, for sure, but most will not preach sermons. They will never stand behind a pulpit and give four-point sermons, complete with supporting verses, interesting illustrations, and a little humor thrown in to keep things lively. They will never be called upon to conduct weddings and funerals, counsel couples on the verge of divorce, or deal with grumpy church members. This does not make them second class Christians; it simply reflects the way things are and have always been. I shudder to think what our world would be like if every person became a full-time pastor or evangelist as soon as they were born again. Where would we be if there were no Christian doctors, no Christian mechanics, school teachers, politicians, contractors, or believers in any of the professions?

No, not all are called to preach or pastor, but every Christian is a minister and a witness of Christ, and must see themselves that way. Martin Luther used to refer to "the priesthood of the believer," and he was exactly right! It may be hard to picture a Christian mechanic wearing a fancy priestly robe as he unscrews the drain plug under a beat up Chevrolet, but a priest he is. And when he tells a customer how Jesus changed his life, or simply says, "God bless you" to another, he is exercising his priestly ministry – and to be a priest you must be anointed. Whether a mother whose primary ministry is toward her pre-school aged children, a businessman who sits in a cubicle and works at a computer most of the day, or a farmer who spends countless hours in the fields, everyone who belongs to Jesus is a minister – a king and a priest unto God.

Areas of anointing

prayer

Having been a preacher for many years, I admit that the anointing to preach is a wonderful thing. When you start to sense a fluency of thoughts and words that goes well beyond your own ability, and recognize the grip that this power exercises upon your listeners, it is truly awe-inspiring. But there are so many other areas of anointing that every one of us needs. And even preachers spend most of their time doing things other than preaching. Here are some vital areas where we all need the Spirit's anointing:

First we must have anointing in our prayer life. Prayer is not real prayer unless it is seasoned with the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Paul writes, "…praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit…" (Ephesians 6:18). In Zechariah God promises to pour out upon Israel "the Spirit of grace and supplication" (Zechariah 12:10). There is an anointing to pray! One reason many people find prayer so distasteful is that they have never known this anointing. Praying without the anointing of the Spirit is like trying to ice skate on a dried up pond. What should flow freely and naturally becomes drudgery and toil. We stumble over our words, we are easily distracted, we check our watches constantly, and wonder if God hears us at all. Engines are never made to run without oil and Christians are not supposed to pray without the oil of the Spirit.

The great nineteenth century evangelist Charles Finney often spoke of the "Spirit of prayer." He recalled a time in his life when his health broke down and it seemed he might soon die. He was concerned over the state of America and the fact that revival seemed to be dying out in the church. While on board a ship the Spirit of prayer came upon him and he spent a day in intense prayer and agony of soul as he prayed for the nation and the church. At the end of the day he felt relief and had the sense that his prayers had been answered. Finney's health was restored, and he went on to publish the book Finney's Lectures on Revivals, which God used to bring revival not only in the U. S. but in many other parts of the world. His own preaching ministry was revived and great blessings followed. Finney wrote:

I have regarded all that I have since been able to accomplish as an answer to the prayers of that day. The Spirit of prayer came upon me as a sovereign grace, bestowed upon me without the least merit and in spite of all my sinfulness. He pressed my soul in prayer until I was able to prevail.

Remember that anointing is essentially the Holy Spirit enabling you to do ministry with the ability of Jesus Christ – it is Christ ministering through you. In this case it is Jesus exercising His intercessory ministry through you. Every Christian needs to be able to pray by the Spirit. It is preposterous to suppose that only preachers ever need this kind of anointing to pray. Have you a child that has gone astray, a marriage that is going through a rough patch, a terrible financial need that threatens to bury you? Do you struggle with loneliness, depression, or despair? You need the Spirit of prayer.

Another area of our lives that calls for anointing has to do with joy. The Bible tells us that the joy of the Lord is our strength. If we are to be strong in the Lord's service we must have joy. But this joy is from the Lord. In Romans we read: "…for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Romans 14:17). The Messianic Psalm says this of Jesus, "You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions" (Psalm 45:7). What a blessed thing it is to be "anointed with the oil of gladness." Joy has everything to do with the Holy Spirit. Happiness depends upon circumstances but joy depends upon the Spirit's anointing. And it is certainly not only preachers who are entitled to this joy of the Spirit. You will endure longer, live cleaner, work harder, pray more fervently, sing more joyfully, and serve more faithfully when you are anointed with the oil of gladness.

A third area where we must be anointed is in our service, even when that service has nothing to do with preaching. An example of an anointed man who never preached is the Old Testament Israelite named Bezalel. In Exodus we read: "Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: "See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, to design artistic works…" (Exodus 31:1-4). This man was called to be a Spirit-filled craftsman. He "preached" through his hands. And his calling was every bit as genuine and significant as anyone else's. Sure Bezalel was a talented guy, but his calling demanded more than talent, more than human skill. God had filled him with the Spirit; he was anointed. We miss so much when we suppose that those who prepare and preach sermons are the only ones who need the filling with the Holy Spirit. You can be a Spirit-filled stock-broker, an anointed day-care worker, a Spirit-empowered Wal-Mart cashier, or an anointed and effective third grade school teacher. The Holy Spirit knows no boundaries. He can come upon you at your place of business, at the grocery store, as you share Christ with your neighbor, serve at a homeless shelter, or have that heart-to-heart talk with your rebellious teenager.

Bottom Line

Space does not permit us to go on, but suffice it to say that there are many, many more areas of our lives which cry out for anointing. Indeed every area of our life should be anointed, until we can say with Paul, "To live is Christ." Let us forever dispense with the erroneous, heretical, and unbiblical notion that the anointing of the Holy Spirit is FPO – for preachers only. This is the promise of the New Covenant: "And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh…" This is what Jesus has made possible through His death on the cross and resurrection three days later. The Christian life was never meant to be lived merely by simple reason, good morals, strenuous efforts, and careful planning. We were made to live and work in the presence, power, enablement, and wisdom of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit has been poured out upon all flesh; not just preachers, but waitresses, factory workers, doctors, lawyers, bricklayers, secretaries… even little boys and little girls who do not yet know their multiplication tables but do know that Jesus Christ is Lord. Because of Jesus, the Holy Spirit has come and He is available to all!

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