The Holy Spirit had been bringing to my heart and mind thoughts of our authority in God, about being anointed and the mark of God upon our lives; about the oil of His Spirit.
“Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed” Psalm 20:6
Now we all know, that oil softens the skin. It makes sore muscles relax, gives shine to our hair and heals parched, cracked skin.
Our physical bodies are soothed and comforted and healed by oil.
It is the same for our spirit.
Oil is the mark of God’s grace, where hard heart places are made soft.
God’s oil is the mark put upon his servants, those marked out for his service.
“Let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of our Lord” James 5:14
Oil in God’s kingdom is a sign of consecration, of being set-apart and reserved for a particular work.
“…and shall anoint them and ordain them and consecrate them, that they may serve me as priests” Exodus 28:41
For those set apart and reserved there is a specific role to play and a job to do.
“Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him… and the spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward” 1 Samuel 16:13
Even Jesus was anointed. Mary carried that privilege. Imagine the authority she carried in order to anoint the Son of God.
“It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment” John 11:2
Anointing is done through the authority given us by God, whereby we then pass that authority to others.
Authority and anointing is for blessing and releasing, for empowering and healing.
Anointing marks us for God.
“But the anointing that you received from him abides in you” 1 John 2:27
Anointing then releases us to heal. Consider this call to heal and to lead found in Isaiah.
“For a man will take hold of his brother in the house of his father, saying: ‘You have a cloak; you shall be our leader, and this heap of ruins shall be under your rule”; in that day he will speak out, saying: ‘I will not be a healer, in my house there is neither bread nor cloak; you shall not make me the leader of the people.” Isaiah 3:6-7
It is interesting to note that healing and leading go hand in hand. There is not one without the other in the Kingdom of God.
But in order to heal, we must first be healed. Part of our ministry before God and before those we serve, is to first make ourselves available for God’s healing in our own lives.
As leaders, as healers, as anointed, we must first know our own needy place before the Lord.
“O Lord my God, I cried to you for help and you healed me.” Psalm 30:2
And we must know our sin.
“As for me, I said, ‘O Lord be gracious to me; heal me, for I have sinned against you.” Psalm 41:4
It is God’s favour that reveals to us our sin. How many times does it say in his word that God hardened hearts and blinded understanding so that sin could not be perceived and hearts could not turn to him.
Be glad, very glad for the understanding and deep repentance of your sin. It is a gift from God.
Once we know our sin, compassion is close at hand.
“And he (Jesus) had compassion on them and healed their sick.” Matthew 14:14
Compassion is the emotional labour necessary to heal.
Whether we are healing hearts or bodies, healing does not happen without emotional labour.
It takes great inner energy to move towards others, to weep as they weep, to feel their pain on their behalf – but this is the only way we heal.
It was said of Jesus that he was a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.
“He was… a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” Isaiah 53:3
It is through the compassion of the Father towards us that Jesus even came to earth. It was the compassion of the Father that clothed Adam and Eve when they had sinned and were naked and ashamed.
“And the Lord God made for Adam and his wife garments of skins and clothed them.” Genesis 3:21
Think about it, in one mighty act of compassion and in the midst of profound disappointment, God the giver of life, killed so that Adam and Eve might be clothed.
Jesus Christ carried on this work of compassion, and we have opportunity to do the same.
It begins with ourselves. Our first job is to view ourselves with God’s compassion. We then receive his compassion unto ourselves, letting it sink deeply into the fibers of our being.
“For it is by grace that we have been saved.” Ephesians 2:8
Once we know God’s grace (and not before), we can give it out to others.
We therefore engage the emotional labour to know our own sin & our own need of God.
We then let down our defenses in order to receive his compassion and grace.
And in this touch of God we are all transformed.
We are healed.
This then is our role as leaders in the Kingdom of God.
Priests, taking grace from God the Father, bearing it in ourselves, giving it out to others.
Reading again in Isaiah 3, we find what happens when we refuse the role of leader and healer.
“For Jerusalem has stumbled and Judah has fallen, because their speech and their deeds are against the Lord, defying his glorious presence.” Isaiah 3:8
When we do not receive God’s compassion and his grace we defy his glorious presence.
And from there, things go from bad to worse… “stumbling, falling, speech and deeds against the Lord.
“This heap of ruins shall be under your rule.”Isaiah 3:6
Not very glamorous, and not very encouraging, to have a heap of ruins under our rule. In our own strength we are simply overwhelmed by the needs and destruction all around us in the hearts and lives of God’s people.
We are all human, and humanity is messy.
Yet as pastors and leaders in the Kingdom of God we are uniquely equipped to make a difference in the mess of humanity. Not because of who we are, but because of who God is.
God is big enough for all the messy places of our lives and those we serve.
As summary, we find God big enough, as we:
1. Accept God’s anointing and call
2. Give ourselves over to the work asked of us
3. Understand that leading means healing
4. Know our own need before God
5. Allow God’s compassion and grace into our own life
6. Allow God to clothe us with himself
A prayer to speak aloud today:
“Today I come to you God in the name and blood of my Living Lord Jesus Christ. I know that you have called me, and I thank-you. I commit this day to the your work in me and through me to others. I acknowledge that as you have called me to lead you have called me to heal. In myself, I am ill-equipped for this. I cannot heal. But you can.
Therefore today, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I take unto myself your healing power. That from the inside out I may know your grace and compassion deep within myself. I give to you my self-trying, and I receive into myself your work of forgiveness and salvation as the gift that it is.
Teach me in the way of compassion both towards myself and others. I clothe myself in your grace and love. All this I declare this day in the name and blood of my living Lord Jesus Christ. With all glory and honour to you Father. Amen”
I leave you with a benediction from God’s heart to yours:
“Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it: ‘I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant to the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols. Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.” Isaiah 42:5-9
Be blessed, go forth in the strength of God the Father, Jesus Christ and his Holy Spirit.