This is a guest blog by Dan Heroy, Dan is a great friend of mine and he has an incredible mind. I guarantee you are going to be provoked by what he has to say, you can check out his last blog “Come Holy Spirit” (which was our most viewed blog of all time up until last month) or find out more about Dan over on his Facebook.
“That guy is really anointed.”
“The anointing really came into the meeting today.”
“That preacher today was not anointed!”
At first glance, you might not find anything unusual or misguided about these comments. In much of the church today, especially Charismatic or Pentecostal circles, you’ll hear statements like these regularly. It’s common to hear leaders, ministries, or services, ranked on a scale of how anointed they appeared to be. I’d like to suggest, however, that often this language is neither as accurate or as harmless as many Christians might think. I believe there is a healthier way to view the anointing: a way that does not disqualify or exclude believers, but instead qualifies and includes them all.
Let’s start with some Scriptural context as to what “anointing” or “anointed” means. Anointing in the Old Testament (O.T.) almost always refers to the physical act of anointing in which a high priest, king, prophet, or sometimes a sick person was physically anointed with oil. When these people were anointed it was for a specific purpose ordained by God. Exodus 30:30, 1 Samuel 16:13, 1 Kings 1:39, and Psalms 89:20 are just a few of many examples.
In the New Testament (N.T.), Jesus emerges and is fully revealed as the promised Messiah. Scripture calls Him anointed (Luke 4:18, Acts 10:38, Heb. 1:9). The Hebrew word “Messiah” means “the anointed one”, and the Greek word “Christ” means the same thing. So Jesus Christ simply means “Jesus, the anointed one”.
The N.T. also reveals that the believer is anointed through Christ. Not just pastors, televangelists, or Christian speakers but every believer is anointed. When you trust in Christ for Salvation, His grace is extended to you, His righteousness is imputed (given) to you, and His anointing abides in you. There are only four times in the N.T. that anointed/anointing is used in describing believers, and every time it describes and qualifies all believers as anointed! Here they are:
“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. 1:21-22, emphasis mine). Paul is addressing “all the saints” at the church in Corinth as anointed. The Corinthians were a community struggling with compromise and sin. But Paul, looking past their shortcomings, is speaking of a deeper and truer objective reality, and that reality is that these Corinthians, and likewise all believers, possess the anointing that comes from their faith in the “anointed one”. Paul reminds them of their true identity.
John, in the book of 1 John, says this of believers: “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.” (1 John 2:20, emphasis mine). And finally, a few verses later, he writes, “But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.” (1 John 2:27, emphasis mine). This is what the N.T. says about believers and the anointing; that you’ve got it.
What has happened in our Christian culture through books, teachings, preachers, and so forth is that the words “anointed” or “anointing” are used interchangeably or in place of the words “gift”, “talent”, or “power.” They can describe an amazing ministry or meeting we attended, or explain why we don’t like a certain ministry (because it is not anointed). But by saying someone is anointed because they play guitar really well implies that their talent is the sign of being anointed. This creates a culture of exclusion and performance. It implies that the person on the worship team carries a special anointing, while the person in the seats is a second class Christian.
Many leaders claim to have a more powerful anointing than the people they are leading. They will charge money or sell teachings that unlock the keys to obtaining a better or more powerful anointing. On Christian television this anointing is sold, at a discount rate sometimes (which does help if you are strapped for cash but still want to be anointed). In a Christian bookstore near you there are pages full of this concept.
A popular line that many Christian leaders use is “touch not the Lord’s anointed.” This too is meant to draw a line between leaders and non-leaders. Scripture, however, refers to both leaders like King Saul and the entire nation of Israel as anointed (as well as all believers in the N.T.). Make no mistake, we should honor and value leaders. Many leaders have incredible insight and gifts that we can draw from. But the Bible has no grid for labeling some Christians as anointed and others as less anointed or as not anointed at all. The Christian businessman or stay-at-home mom is just as anointed as the local pastor or worship leader. The difference really comes down to how each individual Christian is using the anointing they possess in their lives.
Our language is important. It has the potential to build up or tear down, to empower or disempower. As a Christian you are anointed, period. It’s up to you to learn how to use this anointing in partnership with the gifts, talents, and callings that you have. God gives certain gifts to certain people, and certain people have greater measures of faith or gifts (Rom. 12:3-8). Learn from leaders that will help encourage and empower you. Like many pastors and leaders claim, the anointing truly does give us access to power and authority. But the next time you observe a gifted preacher, the power of God displayed through a fellow believer, or a talented musician, remember this: the very same anointing that is in them is in you too.