The Free Dictionary defines the meaning of the word ‘anointing’ as follows:
tr.v. a·noint·ed, a·noint·ing, a·noints
In the Old Testament priests and kings and sometimes prophets had oil put on them or poured upon them when they were set apart for their special role as ministers of God. When the Spirit of the Lord anoints someone, it is because He has spoken and ordained for that person to perform a certain kind of function as a Servant of the Lord. What the anointing really is, beyond the symbolic act of putting oil on, is the commissioning by God to do something. With God, this setting apart for ministry comes together with the Holy Spirit, of which oil is a symbol. God always equips people with His Spirit when He wants them to do something special or out of the ordinary.
Can You FEEL the anointing?
I know what people are talking about when they say this, because I feel the Holy Spirit most of the time in tangible ways. But technically, it is not right to talk about “feeling the anointing” because the anointing is not a certain emotional or spiritual state as such. We need to realize that when God anoints it is because He means business with that person. It is not just so they can feel something good because of the touch of the Holy Spirit.
With the anointing from God, the Spirit of God comes upon a person, and they will probably “feel” it too, which is a great thing. But being conscious of the Spirit is not the same thing as being divinely empowered and set apart for a task.
There are times when our emotions are not in tune with the Presence of God within us – and yet the divine empowerment for healing, preaching, teaching or casting out demons is still there. So while it may be normal and desirable to “feel” the anointing consciously, it is still possible that you can BE anointed and DO THINGS with God’s ability even when you CAN’T feel the anointing. This requires faith.
The Anointing and Grace
When a person is anointed by God, by the Holy Spirit, they receive something in the New Testament which is called “grace” (Gk: charis). Paul said about his ministry that he labored more abundantly than the other apostles, but, he said, “Not I, but the grace of God within me”. It was this divine grace that empowered him to do the work of an apostle and all that goes with it. Grace has a wider meaning than divine empowering, because grace itself is what is at work when we are saved from sin – but ‘divine empowering’ is included as part of the true meaning of grace. “Grace” is very related to the “anointing” and the terms are often used interchangeably. But technically they are different. Both of these concepts relate to things that the Holy Spirit does because of his purpose for people and for their ministry in the name of Jesus.
Every Believer has an Anointing
When we consecrate ourselves to God, to serve Him and follow Him, it is up to the Lord to decide where our place is in His body. It is up to Him to decide what kind of service we are to do for Him. He will empower us to do it. We are stewards of managers of this divine ability. It is up to us to use it, and to use it rightly.
We are all set apart for something. I believe that the anointing can grow or expand as God considers a person ready for new missions and functions in His Kingdom.
The Bible talks about different gifts and ministry roles. All of them require an anointing from God. Peter talks about it as “the manifold grace of God”. (See 1 Peter 4:10).