“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…” ~Isaiah 61:1
Walking in the anointing of the Holy Spirit calls us to become comfortable being uncomfortable. It requires a willingness to become familiar with the unfamiliar; it then invites us to even deeper places of unfamiliarity. It involves having faith that surpasses one’s instincts, faith of biblical proportions.
While the world, the academy, and even the church fall further into disbelief, those who long to abide in the anointing of the Holy Spirit live with divine expectation. They walk an ancient path with a fresh expression. They proclaim an age-old message with clear relevance. People are naturally drawn to the fire that burns in their hearts.
Their ability to minister the gospel in ways that deeply connect to people is not due to any talents they possess, for they have given their lives away. Making disciples comes naturally because they walk in deep intimacy with Jesus. They have nothing to say, for their life is not their own. Yet they have much to say because they are crucified with Christ; it is not them who live, but Christ lives His life through them.
We Say We Want Revival.
Many followers of Jesus, and especially church leaders, express a desire for revival. They say the only hope for the current state of society is another historical great awakening, and I couldn’t agree more. However, if another awakening of historical significance is to ever sweep through this land again, it will only come through those who would rather die than miss God.
When God starts making His Presence known, often the same people who say they want revival are the first ones to start backpedaling when things get “out of hand.” They don’t like the idea of anything too far out of the ordinary. It is a strange thing when people ask God to do it again, and then get antsy when things become a bit unpredictable.
I think these folks genuinely want God to “do it again,” as long as “it” isn’t something they’re too uncomfortable with. However, for revival to come, the church is going to have to do whatever it takes to return to the anointing of the Holy Spirit. I am afraid this will require a more difficult response than many are willing to give.
It is one thing for the anointing to rest upon the life of an individual. It is another thing entirely for the anointing to rest upon a group of people. The only way the church will collectively experience the fruitfulness that accompanies the anointing is to assume a posture of corporate repentance.
Corporate Repentance is the Only Way.
If we are to ever see a genuine move of God in today’s generation, those leading the church must commit to a lifestyle of repentance. Pastors, leaders, and congregations across denominational lines will have to repent for allowing human wisdom, cheap grace, popular opinion, worldly influence, political correctness, and the likes to have a louder voice than God’s Word.
Repentance of this magnitude can only come through those who are willing to lay down their life, those who would rather die than miss God. My prayer for every pastor and church leader is that they die to themselves every single day. I pray for them to lay down their ambitions, hopes, plans, dreams, and anything else living inside them that has the tendency to thwart the anointing of God’s Spirit.
Without the anointing, we will never be able to stand in these serious times. Without the anointing, the church will continue to meander from one shiny new program to another. Without the anointing, we will merely jump from innovative idea to innovative idea. Without the anointing, none of it works.
The voices of those who walk in the anointing are balanced with biblical compassion and moral intergrity. They bear God’s grace in a unique way. They communicate God’s truth with supernatural authority. Their words draw people to God and offend people at the same time. Their message won’t always be rational from the natural perspective, but it will always be reliable and redemptive.
There is a price to pay to walk in the anointing. You will be loved and hated simultaneously. The anointing has the potential to ruin your reputation. People will laugh at you, mock you, and talk about you behind your back. In other words, there is a stigma attached to the anointing.
Living with a Spiritual Stigma.
They won’t admit it, but many pastors and leaders are afraid of the stigma that comes with the anointing. They are too concerned with what people may think. They don’t want to be labeled “radical” or “out of touch.” They feel it is important to keep their reputation intact, so they play it safe.
The unpredictable nature of the Holy Spirit causes many well-intentioned leaders to miss God. They settle for yesterday’s anointing because they’re always looking over their shoulder concerned with how they may be perceived. Reluctance to live with the stigma that comes with the anointing prohibits them from walking in the power of God’s Presence. Their hesitation causes them to submit to popular opinion over the leading of the Holy Spirit.
What if God is ready to “do it again,” but it’s not going to look like anything you are familiar with? Are you okay with that? Do the unfamiliar ways of God threaten your comfortability? Is bearing the stigma too much for you to endure? Always remember, Jesus never said it would be easy, He only said it would be worth it.
Sources: (1) The Anointing: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow by R.T. Kendall; (2) How To Be Filled With The Holy Spirit by A.W. Tozer; (3) Holy Spirit: Revelation & Revolution by Reinhard Bonnke