I am no theologian but I know when I have been anointed to accomplish something for which I not capable. I remember having a conversation with a young seminarian and mentioning off-handedly that in my ministry to women God gave me an anointing for driving a 15-passenger van and for knitting 100 scarves, among other things. He was quick to reply that he doubted my claim that the Holy Spirit would anoint me like that.
I felt sorry for him because I realized that he had not yet discovered the fullness of what the Holy Spirit can do in a desperate Christian. It is truly miraculous. I was reminded of that conversation this week when I was reading in my daily devotions from 1 John 2:27:
“As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him. ”
His anointing teaches you about all things.
Now, I even shudder to go too far here. A lot of Christians have done a lot of damage to the name of Christ by claiming God told them this or that. I’m actually surprised that John would write so boldly here to church members who are fighting heresy in the church. He told them that they had the Holy Spirit inside of them and that the Holy Spirit would alert them about false teachers. He basically taught them to trust God to lead them through the Holy Spirit. He is encouraging them to have utter confidence in the Holy Spirit’s anointing. We need that. But we also need to know that we don’t know everything. I love to be challenged to look at Scripture in whole new way, after decades of thinking a certain way, when someone more knowledgeable than me expands my understanding. This is only in minor issues, not the major doctrines of orthodoxy.
I do rely on the anointing I have received for all things secular and sacred. I ask the Holy Spirit to help me figure out what to wear when I can’t think how to get an outfit together (which happens occasionally). I ask the Holy Spirit to anoint me for healing so that I won’t have to go to a doctor. That doesn’t mean that I won’t go to the doctor. I ask the Holy Spirit to help me get all my tasks accomplished by a certain time. I often beg for His mercy when I am running late. I take all things literally and feel His presence, strength and wisdom in all my life. I don’t really notice if the Holy Spirit is involved when I pick out an outfit each day—it’s only when I get stuck. I am anointed at all times because of the Spirit of God who lives me, I only notice how He orders things up for me or gives me strength when I am paying attention.
I often find the Holy Spirit gives me peace that I cannot know a certain path to take until the path is opened in God’s time. It’s not that my anointing makes me know things in the way one might look into a crystal ball. I don’t know the numbers that would win a lottery. But the anointing is for me to know through the power of the Holy Spirit inside of me what I need to know in order to live my life to glorify God.
The anointing is real and is not counterfeit, although there is counterfeit anointing that is claimed by some people that a real anointing would make you wary of. I guess the key to living out this passage fully is humility and always being willing to question yourself. I’m thankful for the seminarian’s challenge, but when you have lived through the experience of the anointing of the Holy Spirit, you cannot be convinced that it is counterfeit.