This is the third in what has become a lengthy discussion about the anointing. I mentioned in Part 1 Jennifer Knapp’s music and Michael W. Smith in Part 2. There are other artists I would put in the same category.
Sara Groves’ music always soothes my spirit. She could play one chord over and over and just scat over the top of it and I’d be drawn to worship. Her “Less Like Scars” brought me to tears in a difficult time in my life. “Fly” encourages me in my role as a husband. She has another song where she gently repeats, “Love wash over a multitude of things,” and I start to believe it.
I remember listening to David Crowder’s Can You Hear Us? every morning for several months on the 128MB MP3 player I had at the time. (Wow, was that small!) Jami Smith, Tommy Walker, Paul Baloche, Chris Tomlin, Christy Nockels, Brooke Fraser—so many great artists whom God has used.
There are even individual songs I would classify as anointed. These are songs that seem to have been inspired by the Holy Spirit:
- “Revelation Song” by Kari Jobe
- “Blessed Is the One” by Daniel Doss
- “Your Grace Is Enough” by Matt Maher, though I like Chris Tomlin’s version better
- “Rock of Ages (You Will Stand)” by Paul Baloche
- “Stars” by David Crowder
- “From the Inside Out” by Hillsong United
and countless others. Of course many hymns, though not all, are also anointed.
Soap No One Uses and Beater Guitars
For Aaron’s sons you shall make coats and sashes and caps. You shall make them for glory and beauty. And you shall put them on Aaron your brother, and on his sons with him, and shall anoint them and ordain them and consecrate them, that they may serve me as priests. —Exodus 28:40-41 ESV
“Aaron’s sons” refers to the priests of Israel who would serve in the temple. They were anointed, ordained, and consecrated. This simply means they were set apart for God’s purposes.
Contrast something consecrated with something meant for ordinary use. Guest towels and soaps are meant to honor your guests. You wouldn’t put out your old, stained rags. Many guitarists own a “beater,” which is an old worn-out guitar you wouldn’t mind taking a beating (thus the name). Normally, you wouldn’t use it in performance, just around a campfire. (Willie Nelson uses his beater all the time in performance, and I think it sounds awful.)
To ordain something is to commission it for a specific purpose. That’s what is meant when a pastor is ordained. Like when I ordain my barbeque grill for a juicy steak.
Speaking of Clogged Arteries
Throughout Scripture the sense of anointing frequently involves the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. In the Old Testament, the Spirit would come upon an individual but wouldn’t necessarily remain. When we become followers of Jesus, we receive the indwelling of the Spirit. But our sensitivity to him can fluctuate. Sometimes we allow God to work through us freely, and at other times it’s like there’s a clog in the system. Sin has a tendency to clog the flow of God’s Spirit.
David spoke of this in his prayer of repentance in Psalm 51—that God wouldn’t take his Spirit from him. Since Jesus ascended and the promised Counselor was provided, the Holy Spirit doesn’t just leave his followers, but our sin definitely impacts effectiveness. The opposite is also true, for when we are pursuing God and putting to death sinful desires by the power of his Spirit, we become greater conduits for his work.
It is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. —2 Corinthians 1:21-22 ESV
I’ve primarily spoken about music thus far, because music also seems to have an emotional impact. But the anointing of God’s Spirit expresses itself in our daily lives. The amount of time I actually play music for anybody is far less than my regular interaction with people.
Jesus Would Change Diapers
So how do I point people to God? Aside from music, how do I minister to them with my words or my touch? Do my children sense God’s presence in our home? Surely it’s not just when I play the piano. Maybe it’s when I hold them close and speak tenderly to them. Or when I seek their forgiveness for when my tone was harsh. It could be when I’m changing Micah’s diaper, which he has come to hate for some reason—so we dread it too. Perhaps it’s when I rub oil—ah, there’s an allusion—on Cindy’s tired feet, which I don’t do often enough.
I covet the anointing of God’s Spirit in my music, for without God’s presence my music would simply be nice (if I’ve practiced). And outside of music, I long to be filled to overflowing with God’s Spirit, so that others will be drawn to the hope I’ve come to know.
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. —Romans 15:13 NLT