After a heartfelt message on brokenness, people streamed up to the altar for prayer. One young woman came tearfully up to our prayer team. She was in a life-and-death battle with cancer and asked for prayer for healing. Our pastor took a glass bottle of oil, anointed her, and prayed for her as many others gathered around her in support.
While this type of anointing is a physical anointing, it has much in common with spiritual anointing. We can better understand spiritual anointing by using physical anointing as our springboard.
Anointing in Bible Times
Oils and perfumes were of high value and importance in Bible times, both secularly and religiously. Physicians massaged a mixture of olive and essential oils into the muscles of patients to help relieve pain. People also anointed themselves with oil for the fragrance and medicinal properties. Think of these oils as we do our medicine cabinet.
Sacred Uses of Oil
In the Old Testament, God instructed Moses to have a professional perfumer make a holy anointing oil from myrrh, cinnamon, cane, cassia, and olive oils. He told Moses to anoint the tabernacle of meeting, the ark of the Testimony, the table, the lampstand, the altar of incense, the altar of burnt offering, and the laver and its base, as well as all the utensils. Finally, Moses was to anoint Aaron and his sons with the sacred mixture and consecrate them to minister to God as priests (Exodus 30:22-33). The holy oil could not be used on any other man, nor could the recipe be copied and used by anyone else.
As the years went by, the people demanded a king to rule them. Every time God raised up a new king for Israel, the prophet anointed him with oil (not the holy oil) in his new role as king. Throughout scripture, oil typically symbolizes the Holy Spirit.
In Luke 8, we see Mary, the woman who had sinned much, anoint Jesus. She breaks an expensive bottle of perfume and anoints his head and feet, wiping His feet with her hair. When she is criticized for this, Jesus defends her, saying that she is preparing his body for burial, and shocks the people at the dinner party by forgiving her sins.
Anointing Is a Hands-on Process
In all of these instances, what is the common factor? Anointing is a hands-on treatment. In most of these passages, the word anoint comes from mashach and means “to smear, to anoint, to rub with oil.” Since oil was expensive, the anointer would generally pour the oil onto his hands and then rub it onto the person being anointed.
In Sparkling Gems from the Greek, Rick Renner says we can use this beautiful word picture to think of how God anoints us today: He fills His hands with the essence of the Holy Spirit, pressing Him into… Click To Tweet
As I thought about this, I realized this is only possible because of Pentecost. Jesus said He had to die so that the Comforter could come, and that through Him we would do even greater things than Jesus Himself did.
Indeed, this happened in Acts 2 when the Holy Spirit, in the form of tongues of fire, landed on each person and filled them to equip them for the work of the ministry.
That same anointing falls upon us today as Christ-followers. When we accept Jesus as Savior, the Holy Spirit comes to reside in each one of us, empowering us to lead a holy life. The Holy Spirit is our anointing oil.
Seasons of Life, Seasons of Anointing
I believe that we can experience a fresh anointing of the Spirit as we go through life. Just as each year has the seasons of spring, summer, winter, and fall, we go through seasons in our own lives. We may have the season of singleness, the season of marriage, the season of childrearing, the season of working, the season of middle-age, and so on. I believe that in those different seasons, God gives us different gifts, passions, purposes and works to do—and the anointing to do them.
We can pray for God to lay His hands upon us and rub in a fresh anointing of His Spirit to empower us for what He has called us to do right now. Ephesians 2:15 calls that “being the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” When He is working in our lives, we, His anointed children, will be emitting the fragrance of Jesus to those around us. This verse leaves no doubt as to our anointing:
“He [God] anointed us, set His seal of ownership on us, and put His Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” (2 Corinthians 1:21b-22)
In this instance, anointed is the Greek word chrios, which means “to daub, smear, anoint with oil or ointment.” Even more exciting is this part of the definition: “Of Christians, as anointed or consecrated, set apart to the service and ministry of Christ and His gospel by the gift of the Holy Spirit” (emphasis mine).
Did you catch that? You are anointed, my friend, so don’t let the enemy deceive you into believing you are not!
- Have you made the mistake of believing that God’s anointing was just for a select few and that you weren’t invited to the club? If so, you need to realize you have been deceived. God has anointed you and will work through you as you let him. Write down the 2 Corinthians verse, meditate on it, and memorize it.
- What do you feel God is calling you to do at this stage of your life? Pray about this and write down one or two things you feel called to do.
- Pray and ask that the Holy Spirit will fill you and anoint you for this work. Confess any sin that needs to be forgiven so that you can move forward.
- Declare this promise out loud: Lord, I declare that I am your child. I am saved, redeemed, and filled with your Holy Spirit. I am anointed to share the gospel and help people get healed, delivered, and set free. I will do the work that You have given me to do in the power of the Holy Spirit, and I will no longer let the enemy deceive me into thinking I am not worthy to do it. I live in the power of Jesus, and each day I give off the aroma of Him wherever I go. I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name! Amen.
What do you think? Feel free to share with us in the comments.
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