Moving from a smaller parish in Los Angeles to Varick Memorial AME Zion Church in New Haven, Connecticut, which has 2,000 active members, was a spiritual awakening for me, because Varick is a relevant ministry that believes in the anointed proclamation of the Word and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Some people would call us Method-costal because we follow the Methodist polity, but if you take down the church sign and walk in on a typical Sunday you will be greeted by our praise and worship team. We have a high-spirited and high-energy worship experience.
We are still Methodist because John Wesley clearly believed that the gifts of the Holy Spirit were relevant for the church in any age. He defined them. He described them. He experienced them. He defended them.
Although Wesley never emphasized certain gifts such as predictive prophecy or tongues and their interpretation, he did regret their loss to Christians in general. In his sermon, The More Excellent Way, he writes, “The cause of this [decline of spiritual gifts following Constantine] was not, (as has been vulgarly supposed,) because there was no more occasion for them, because all the world was becoming Christians.”
I am a proud Methodist and I believe in all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit and I believe that we must go back to our roots of Methodism and reunite the revival movement and recapture our passion of proclaiming the gospel with an anointed zeal.
Johnson Oatman, Jr. wrote the hymn Lift Him Up:
How to reach the masses, men of every birth,
For an answer, Jesus gave the key:
“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth,
Will draw all men unto Me.”
Lift Him up, lift Him up;
Still He speaks from eternity:
“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth,
Will draw all men unto Me.”
Because the world is hungry for the Living Bread,
Lift the Savior up for them to see;
Trust Him, and do not doubt the words that He said,
“I’ll draw all men unto Me.”
We need anointing. But many of us don’t really know what it is.
The origin of anointing was from a practice of shepherds. Lice and other insects would often get into the wool of sheep, and when they got near the sheep’s head, they could burrow into the sheep’s ears and kill the sheep. So, ancient shepherds poured oil on the sheep’s head. This made the wool slippery, making it impossible for insects to get near the sheep’s ears because the insects would slide off. From this, anointing became symbolic of blessing, protection, and empowerment.
The New Testament Greek words for “anoint” are chrio, which means “to smear or rub with oil” and, by implication, “to consecrate for office or religious service”; and aleipho, which means “to anoint.” In Bible times, people were anointed with oil to signify God’s blessing or call on that person’s life (Exodus 29:7; Exodus 40:9; 2 Kings 9:6; Ecclesiastes 9:8; James 5:14).
A person was anointed for a special purpose—to be a king, to be a prophet, to be a builder, etc. (There is nothing wrong with anointing a person with oil today. We just have to make sure that the purpose of anointing is in agreement with Scripture. Anointing should not be viewed as a “magic potion.” The oil itself does not have any power. It is only God who can anoint a person for a specific purpose. If we use oil, it is a symbol of what God is doing.)
Another meaning for the word anointed is “chosen one.” The Bible says that Jesus Christ was anointed by God with the Holy Spirit to spread the good news and free those who have been held captive by sin (Luke 4:18-19; Acts 10:38). After Christ left earth, he gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit (John 14:16). Now all Christians are anointed, chosen for a specific purpose in furthering God’s Kingdom (1 John 2:20). “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 Corinthians 1:21-22).
We increase the anointing by spending time in God’s presence. And you will certainly know when the presence of the Holy Spirit has come upon your life.
Here are seven things that the anointing will bring to you when it begins to increase and flow:
- Healing. Just like when the good Samaritan ministered to the man who had been robbed, stripped, and left for dead (Luke 10:33-34), the minute God’s anointing starts to flow on you, it will heal you. Your heart will be healed. He will restore your health. And you will become a minister of his healing power. That is promised in God’s Word.
- Revelation. The anointing will change your life. In Exodus 25:6 you can read about the oil that brings light. It pierces the darkness and illuminates everything around it. Nothing can stop it because the anointing is the overflow of Christ’s life. And once the anointing starts to flow over you, it brings revelation knowledge, allowing you to move into a supernatural walk with God.
- Provision. In 1 Kings 17:14, we read about Elijah and the widow of Zarephath. She desperately needed a miracle. All she had left for herself and her son was a handful of meal and a small amount of oil. God performed a life-changing miracle for her, multiplying her offering far beyond anything she could have dreamed. The oil did not fail. And today, when God moves in your life, the oil begins to flow, meeting every need in your life. There will be no lack. That’s what God wants for you today. He is moving mightily upon the earth—as you seek him with your whole heart, the oil will flow on you, and every need in your life will be met!
- Debt-free living. A widow came to Elisha and cried out about the debts that had overtaken her and her sons after her husband’s death (2 Kings 4:1-7). God used all she had, a pot of oil—it multiplied supernaturally, and she was able to pay off all her debts.
- Deliverance. David spoke of the oil of anointing (Psalm 23:1-5) and how it delivered him from all his enemies. Not only that, but he also spoke of God’s faithfulness in protecting him when he wrote, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
- Faith. We are told that the watchman of Isaiah 21:5 was directed to anoint the shield. Just as oil was used then, the oil of God’s anointing must be used today. Faith must be activated and released, then God will protect you with the shield of faith because of that anointing. Today, regardless of your circumstances, God wants to release a mighty anointing on your life to protect you, completely and totally, but you must first activate it!
- Blessings. In Psalm 133 we read about the precious oil of anointing that flowed over Aaron, and then God directed the high priest to command his blessings: “The Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore” (verse 3) upon the children of Israel. Today, God commands the blessings on you through his Word. He even says, “All the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us” (2 Corinthians 1:20).