There are numerous ways that we gauge the person of Christ.
We look at the things of the Spirit and ask things like, “Does this person have an anointing of God?”
What are the fruits of this persons ministry? Are others encouraged and empowered by this person? Is the word of God preached with understanding given by the Holy Spirit?
It is very easy in the church to look only at the anointing of the Spirit, to gauge the maturity of the person. But we perceive that anointing is only one piece of our walk with God and of our new nature in Christ.
Anointing is only one part of our ministry and influence on this earth. In the church we tend to believe that the anointing of God is an endorsement of our character. But this simply isn’t so. What we miss, is that God anoints, because God anoints.
We read in the Old Testament of Samson, who was mightily anointed by God. He had great strength and performed many miraculous events, and yet we also read that he was a womanizer, and lacked a depth of character.
Read Judges 14-16 for the full story.
Samson plainly shows us that God anoints because God anoints, not because we are all good and fine.
It is quite possible, after all, to have a profound anointing of God over our ministries, but to be lacking in character, in emotional health, and in leadership ability.
The anointing of God, does not ensure that we have good character, or holiness, or a gracious ability with people. The anointing of God does not mean that we are approved in everything we are doing, the ways we carry on ‘church’, the means by which we make money, or the doctrine that comes from our pulpits.
The anointing of God comes because of who God is. Not because of who we are.
“But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace. Then it pleased him to reveal his Son to me so that I would proclaim the Good News about Jesus.” Galatians 1:15
And we read that at the end times when we stand before God, that there will be those who claim to have access to heaven because they did miraculous works. But that God will say to them, ‘I never knew you.’
“On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name. But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.” Matthew 7:22
Let me suggest that there are four pillars of our inner beings, that hold so to speak, the spiritual works and the anointing of our lives. They are:
- Character Development,
- Emotional Maturity
- Spiritual Freedom
- Leadership Ability
All of these must be looked for and worked towards. None of these happen automatically in our lives.
It is quite possible to know Jesus Christ and to be anointed in the Spirit and to lack in Character Development.
It is quite possible to walk in signs and wonders and to be emotionally immature.
It is quite possible to preach amazing sermons and have little wisdom or leadership ability.
And it is quite possible to pray prayers over others, and yet have little spiritual freedom oneself.
The evident anointing of the Spirit does not mean that we are mature and healthy. The evident anointing of the Spirit means that God is gracious and he anoints because he is God.
It is our responsibility to go after health and maturity, to learn how to be good leaders, to increase in character strengths and in integrity and holiness.
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5:3-5
While God is the one who anoints, it is up to us to Grow-Up into that anointing.
And we do this by becoming people of character and of integrity. We learn honesty and reject lies and manipulations. We learn to trust God and refuse to ‘make our own way’. We increase in wisdom and come to understand how much we still have to learn.
“Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the LORD tested Joseph’s character.” Psalm 105:19
We grow-up by seeking emotional health and maturity. We learn to become responsible for our feelings and for our frustrations. We do not put our emotional needs onto others, expecting others to fix our bad spots. We learn to be gracious through frustration, We get help to deal with our past problems, and we learn to honor our little girl or boy and the hurts and harms that came to us as children.
“When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.” 1 Corinthians 13:11
To grow in Spiritual Freedom we look to the Lord for help with our selfishness, our hatred, our anger, and a host of other things. We also look to the body of Christ. Everything that leads to life and Godliness works out through the Body of Christ. We cannot be free by ourselves. And those who live in a way that excludes others, will never be completely free. So we learn to ask others to pray for us. We confess our sins to one another. We live authentically and honestly before all peoples. And we allow the deep work of the cross of Christ to circumcise our hearts.
“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” James 5:6
And we enter into specific training and learning about being leaders. We find mentors and those whose lives we want to learn from. We take instruction and correction. We welcome feed-back on how we are doing. And we live a life of learning and seeking more of God and how to be like him as we lead.
“And Solomon, my son, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the LORD sees every heart and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him. But if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.” 1 Chronicles 28:9
And as we invest in these pillars of our inner being, we become a people who are ready and able to carry the great works of the Lord and the anointing he calls us to. Before these sorts of works of Character, and Emotions, our Spiritual Self and as Leaders, we are not really ready. Although, in the mercy of God, he continues to anoint us and to reveal himself through us. Because of who he is, not because of who we are.
“And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires. In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:4-8