Theme: Anointing – necessary or nice to have?
Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
The visiting ‘man of God’ stood on the platform, raised his right arm high into the air, and announced, “Just plug into the Holy Spirit and receive the anointing”.
This was his dramatic conclusion to a sermon on how we can receive power at will for whatever we need. During the fifty minutes or so of his high-energy presentation, he referred constantly to the Holy Spirit as ‘it’ as he tried hard to convince us that we are in control.
For starters, the Holy Spirit is a personage, the third person of the Holy Trinity; so he is not an it (gender of course isn’t the issue here). Secondly, the Holy Spirit is sovereign, not us. We can ask, as of course we are encouraged to do, but we can neither demand or assume that what we ask for is constantly on tap. The Holy Spirit is the source of spiritual energy, the anointing, and he gives this, at his discretion, to those who ask. He is not some sort of divine wall plug! We can’t just plug into him and get charged up whenever we will! We ask and he gives.
Jesus said this; “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13). Note the dynamics of this transaction – giving in response to asking. He gives at his discretion and he gives what only he can give, anointing power. In my view, and understanding of scripture, a human being can store spiritual energy but cannot create it. Only God is the creator and we are the fortunate and blessed recipients.
Of course the other erroneous extreme is not to ask at all. We desperately need the anointing of the Holy Spirit if we are to live the kind of life God requires of us and if we are to be effective in any area of ministry. However, although God knows we need it, he doesn’t assume we want it. So we need to ask. In fact we need to ask and ask again; I don’t believe that receiving the Spirit is a one off thing… but I will comment on this in a later posting.