What Many Christians Don't Understand About 'the Anointing'

Understand this distinction and boundaries of flowing in the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Understand this distinction and boundaries of flowing in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. (Svyatoslav Romanov)

The Bible sometimes speaks of "anointings," but most don't seem to have any idea about what this term means.

In Scripture, "anointing" spoke of sacred moments when an individual (or object) was smeared with oil and commissioned to accomplish a particular task. It typically referred to those installed into the priesthood, as well as prophets, and those operating as kings.

One example is evidenced in the following: "And you shall anoint Jehu, the son of Nimshi, to be king over Israel, and you shall anoint Elisha, the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah, to be prophet in your place" (1 Kings 19:16).

As we can see from this passage, "anointings" were tied to particular functions and roles. The conferred blessing and favor would remain within the respective perimeters and facilitate the accomplishment of incredible things.

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Even in terms of "Messiah," the anointing was connected to a specific vocational role. The "anointed one of God" was installed to establish the heavenly Father's purposes and accomplish a particular work within creation.

Consider what was spoken over Jesus in Luke 4:18-19:

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to preach the acceptable year of the Lord."

The anointing came upon the Son of Man to boldly preach, heal and release those who were under the oppression of darkness. It cannot be overlooked that the anointing always serves a function.

Many confuse anointings with giftings, but they're not the same. What you're able to activate in this season, may have little do with your underlying gift-mixes and abilities. In most cases, it only relates to your current areas of responsibility.

Over the years, people started attending my local church and were put into places of oversight. They soon began to operate in the "anointing of the house." However, some misunderstood their emerging abilities. They presumed that they could leave the congregation and carry this anointing to another place. However, most were unable to do so.

They didn't understand that "the oil" of God's presence was poured out for a particular function. So, if they no longer operated in their appointed role, that anointing is naturally withdrawn.

It is important to understand the differences between giftings and anointings. Although both refer to abilities, each emerges from an entirely different matrix.

Each of us has to consider what God has anointed us to accomplish in this strategic season. Your temporary abilities are likely coming from a place completely outside of you.

J.D. King, director of the World Revival Network and co-pastor at World Revival Church, is writing Regeneration: Healing in the History of Christianity. King is a sought-after speaker, writer and author.

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