M. Bounds says in his classic book, The Power of Prayer: “Men are God’s method. The Church is looking for better methods; God is looking for better men…What the Church needs today is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use–men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Spirit does not flow through methods, but through men. He doesn’t (inspire) machinery, but men. He does not anoint plans, but men–men of prayer.”
To be anointed in this sense means that the Holy Spirit has appointed dedicated men (and women) to His service. People who are ready and willing to make a kingdom difference. Instead of oil, God uses His Holy Spirit to inspire and guide those set apart for His work here on earth.
In the time of Jesus (and even in some places today), people anointed bodies with oil to prepare them for burial. This ritual was done to sanctify (make holy) the body of the departed. It was done to set that person apart as one who carries the promise through faith to be with our Father in heaven.
The anointing that E.M. Bounds speaks of is different. By God’s Holy Spirit you are separated from the ordinary to do amazing things in His name. 1 John 2:27 says this of the anointing received from God, “…the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.”
Through God’s anointing we are instilled with Godly knowledge so that we might serve Him more effectively. His anointing motivates us toward the good and leads us to the truth. In return we are called to dedicate ourselves to Him with every fiber of our being.
Isaiah was speaking of the coming Messiah but he was also speaking to all people when he said in Isaiah 61, “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD’S favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion—to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified” (Isaiah 61:1-3).
This is not just the calling of Christ but also the calling of all who believe in Him. It is an anointing from God to follow in the footsteps of His Son, furthering His ministry, extending His love as we live our lives in His service, readying ourselves for what is to come.
God said to the people of Israel in Joel 2:28-29, “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit.” This anointing of the Spirit has begun, and God works through His people to accomplish His purpose.
This anointing will not be forced upon you, however. It is only appointed for the willing. It requires a faith in God that trusts in Him to lead us to new opportunities in ministry. It asks those anointed to boldly share the Good News, even to those places that resist the message. This anointing is not for the weak in faith but for those who have surrendered themselves to Christ.
God invites you to be His anointed, His ambassador, His disciple. He longs for you to be at such a place in your faith that you rely on Him to work in you a spirit of righteousness. He sent His Son to redeem you so that you might be appointed to His service without the weight of sin and death to hinder you. Are you willing? Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Your Holy Spirit to anoint us with the knowledge necessary to carry on Your plan for all of mankind. Make us ready to do Your will so that others might come to know you, that they also may be anointed in service to You. Amen.