The anointing of the Holy Spirit

The anointing of the Holy Spirit is the most important key for the growth of the church, the salvation of souls and for healings and miracles. It is the only way that we will influence this world for Christ. When we are born again we receive a deposit of the anointing in our lives, for the Bible says “we have an anointing and we know all things.” (1 John 2:20)  However, the anointing can be increased and there is no limit to level of anointing that we can receive. For example, Smith Wigglesworth raised 23 people from the dead and was so anointed that people travelling on the same train as he would repent and receive Jesus without him having to speak a word. Charles Finney was so anointed that the conviction of sin would come upon those to whom he came in contact with. The apostle Peter was so anointed that his shadow would heal the sick.

What is the anointing?

The definition of the anointing: It is the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit that enables us to do the work of Jesus. We can feel and sense the anointing. It is often like ‘spiritual electricity’ that flows through us to others. The anointing enables us to do what the Holy Spirit wants us to do and to say what the Holy Spirit wants us to say. The anointing connects us heaven’s resources. The evidence of the anointing is freedom and flow. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 3:17, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (freedom).” When the anointing is present, there is also a flow of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said in John 7:37 the “… out of your heart shall flow rivers of living water…” The anointing makes it easy for us to minister the word of God and minister to the needs of people. On the other hand, lack of anointing causes us to ‘sweat’ and struggle. For example, if a sermon is not anointed, people will be bored and some may even fall asleep. Therefore, it is better to preach an anointed message, than a good message!

Why is the anointing so important?

Firstly, the anointing is the power that gives us the ability to preach the gospel and draw sinners to Christ. Jesus said of Himself, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; …” (Luke 4:18) He then told the disciples, but ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses...” (Acts 1:8) Jesus said in John 15:26  But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceeds from the Father, He shall testify of Me.” The Holy Spirit is primarily given to testify about the Lord Jesus and to draw sinners to salvation.

Secondly, the anointing is given to heal the sick and set the oppressed free! Paul said in the book of Romans, “Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.(Romans 15:19) Without signs, wonders and miracles we do not fully preach the gospel of Jesus! If God anoints us, then we are under obligation to heal the sick and to perform miracles.

Thirdly the anointing is given so that we can fulfill our calling and ministry. When God calls us and tells us to do something, He will anoint us. We read about the calling of King David in the Old Testament, “Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward.” (1 Samuel 16:13) In the New Testament, Paul says, “Who also hath made us able ministers of the New Testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit:” (2 Cor. 3:6) In fact, the anointing of the Holy Spirit is the only qualification that God acknowledges for ministry.

How to increase the anointing:

Firstly we can ask God to fill us with the Holy Spirit:

We read in Luke 11:13,If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”  This is a legal request, we can ask God the Father to fill us with the Holy Spirit and for the anointing. This is what the disciples did in Acts 4: 31, ” And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.”

Secondly through the laying on of hands and prayer:

The anointing often increases when anointed people pray for us and lay their hands on us. There are many examples in the Bible, for example,  Paul said to Timothy, “Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.” (2 Timothy 1:6) We have another example in Deuteronomy 34:9, “And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him.” The anointing can be transferred through the laying on of hands.

Thirdly, the corporate anointing can also influence our personal anointing.

This was especially true on the day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit was poured out on all those who were gathered in the upper room and not only on those who were super spiritual. (Acts 2:4) That is why it is so important to be connected to an anointed group of people. In Psalm 133 it says, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment …” The anointing on a group will also affect our personal anointing. The ‘fire’ of the Holy Spirit on others, can impart the ‘fire’ of the Holy Spirit to us. The corporate anointing on a group is often much stronger than our individual anointing. However, this being so, we still individually have to walk in Spirit and obedience in order to maintain our anointing!

Fourthly, obedience to the Holy Spirit is important.

In Acts 5:32 we read, “The Holy Spirit to whom God has given to those that obey Him.” That is why it is so important to always be sensitive to what the Holy Spirit wants us to do. For example, it is more important to find out what God wants to say in a given situation than to preach a good sermon. This is also true to all forms of ministry. Jesus said in John 14:15-17, “If you love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter…”  There is a connection between obedience and the receiving of the Holy Spirit. When some of the great healing revivalists of the past were asked, “what is the greatest key to your anointing?” Many replied, “I would sit still in God’s presence, listen to His voice, then do what He tells me to do.” It is very important to realize that God does not only anoint a person, but the message that the person brings and the right word to the right people at the right time will be anointed. In Colossians 1:5-6 we read that the “word of truth … is bringing forth fruit.”

To be obedient to the obvious commands in the Bible is also important if we want to experience the anointing of the Holy Spirit. It says of Jesus in Hebrews 1:9, “You have loved righteousness and hated iniquity, therefore, God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your fellows.” We need to obey the known commands of the Bible such as “love one another! Forgive one another! Give and it shall be given to you! Honor your parents! Be holy, etc.

Fifthly, good stewardship of the anointing that we have already received:

The anointing increases when we use the anointing that we already have. In Isaiah 61:1 we read, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach …. etc.”  We notice the word, ‘because.’ God anoints us for a reason and not to do nothing! We have an illustration of this in the story of Elisha and the widow woman in 2 Kings 4.  In verse 2 we read, “ So Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?” And she said, “Your maidservant has nothing in the house but a jar of oil.” (2 Kings 4:2) We know the story: Elisha told her to borrow empty vessels from her neighbors and pour the oil that she had into these vessels. There is a lot we can say about this story, but as she poured her oil into the empty vessels, her amount of oil increased.

In the same way, when we use the ‘little bit’ that we have, and pour it into the needs (empty vessels) of others our anointing will increase! Our greatest need is often not to receive more anointing from the Holy Spirit, but to use the anointing that we already have! Even if we think that we have so little to give. We can start to share the gospel with others, pray for the sick, encourage one another, etc. Therefore, if we do not use the anointing, we will lose the anointing!

Fifthly, the anointing increases through healthy spiritual disciplines.

Thanksgiving and praise:  Paul writes, “Do not be drunk with wine, but be filled with the Holy Spirit! Speak to yourselves in Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs making melody in your heart … giving thanks … submitting to one another.” (Eph. 5:18-19) Worship, prayer, reading the Bible, praise and thanksgiving are all disciplines that will enable us to increase the anointing level in our lives.

Fasting: Our best example is that of Jesus. In Luke 4:1 we read that “Jesus was led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit.” A few verses later in verse 14 it says, “Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Holy Spirit.” After a 40 day fast, He returned to Galilee in the power of the Holy Spirit! That was the reason why He, in the likeness of a man, was able to do so many wonderful miracles.One day the disciples of Jesus tried to cast  a demon out of a young boy, but could not do so. Jesus told them in Matthew 17:21, “This kind does not go out but through prayer and fasting.” In other words, “you do not have enough anointing, you need to fast and pray!” However, it is not always necessary to fast each time we pray for the sick or cast out demons, but fasting is an important discipline to increase and maintain our anointing.

Speaking in tongues. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 14:4, “He that speaks in a tongue edifies himself.” We have a similar verse in Jude 1:20, “Building yourselves up in your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit.” The word edify, can also mean, ‘to build oneself up.’ The more we speak in tongues, the more we build up and increase the anointing of the Holy Spirit in us. That is why Paul said in 1 Corinthians 14:18, “I thank my God that I speak in tongues more than you all.”

Reading the Bible: In Hebrews 4:12 we read that “The word of God is quick and powerful …” The word “powerful” in the Greek, comes from the word, “energes” which means energy. Spiritual energy is imparted to us when we read the word of God a lot. Reading books and listening to sermons are good, but the greatest source of inspiration and anointing is when we personally receive something from God’s word. Therefore, we must be careful not to allow books and sermons to take the place of our personal reading of the scriptures. Paul said to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, ” All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” 

Waiting on God: This is the discipline of sitting quietly and soaking in God’s presence. In Isaiah 40:31 we read, “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up as eagles….”  The word “wait” has four applications: Firstly we wait patiently. Secondly we wait expectantly. We see this in the book of Acts where they waited for 10 days, expecting the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Thirdly we wait silently where we remove outside noise and distractions. That is why Jesus said that when we pray we must “shut the door.” Fourthly we need to quieten down our inner man, our thoughts and emotions. We read in Isaiah 26:3, “He will keep you in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Him.” We can do this by focusing our thoughts on what the Bible says about the Lord.

Sixthly, the anointing is increased through the experiences that God takes us through.

In John 7:38, Jesus said, “Out of your heart shall flow rivers of living water. This He spoke of the Holy Spirit.”  There is much we can say about this verse. But we notice that it is out of the heart that the rivers flow!. When God puts something in our hearts and it is real to us, then life will flow when we minister that to others. God may take us through some test or experience, and as we have victory in that test, we will be anointed in that area of our life. For example, if we have personally being healed through faith in God’s word, we will have more confidence and anointing to share the truths about healing to others.

We read in 1 Peter 4:14, “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” If we have the right reaction when we go through persecution or trials, our anointing will increase. Therefore, instead of complaining, we rejoice Instead of being in despair, we have hope. instead of being bitter, we forgive. Instead of hating people and being offended, we chose to love. Paul said in Corinthians, “Death works in us, but life in you.” (2 Corinthians 4:12)  When ‘death’ works in us, life is released to others.

Seventhly, the anointing follows the path of brokenness and humility: 

In Isaiah 57:15 we read, that “God revives the spirit of the humble and the hearts of the contrite ones.” Pride is often the greatest stumbling block to the anointing. Often a proud word, or attitude will cause the anointing to “leak” out of us. In Proverbs 15:4 we read that “A perverse tongue is a breach (or leak) in the Spirit.” Watchman Nee said, “The greatest key to the anointing is a broken spirit.” Humble decisions and humble attitudes will cause the anointing to increase.

Eighthly, the anointing is released when we use our spiritual authority:

In Acts 3:6, Peter said to the lame man, “In the name of Jesus, rise up and walk.” The anointing then came upon the man and healed him. In Luke 9:1 it says Jesus gave the disciples, power and authority to cast out demons and to cure diseases. There are other examples as well. As we boldly declare God’s word with authority in the name of Jesus, an anointing is often released for miracles and healings.

How can we maintain the anointing?

To maintain our anointing is just as important as increasing and building up our anointing. There have been many, who were once anointed, but after a period of time have lost their anointing and have become powerless and useless in their calling and ministry. Therefore if we want to maintain the anointing, the following is important:

Firstly, we must place a high value on the anointing:

If we value something, we will protect it. For example, we will be more careful to protect a 100$ bill than a 1$ bill. Therefore, if we place a high value on the anointing, we will never do anything that will cause us to lose the anointing such as: Grieving the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 4:30) Quenching the Holy Spirit. (1Thessalonians 5:19) Furthermore, we should never lose our desire for the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said in John 7:37, “If anyone thirsts, let him come unto Me and drink…” God fills those who are continually hungry and thirsty for the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.

Secondly, it is important to be committed to the local church and be accountable to others.

Many of the great revivalists and men of God in the past lost their anointing because they were not willing to submit to others and be accountable to the church. We read in Ephesians 5:18 and 21 “… be filled with the Spirit; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”  Notice, one of the ways to be filled with the Holy Spirit, is to submit to others! If we do not have the protection of the Body of Christ, the enemy will steal our anointing! In Psalm 92:13-14 we read, “Those who are planted in the house of the Lord will be … fresh and flourishing (anointed) and bear fruit even into old age.”

Thirdly, the anointing is protected by continual repentance and turning to God:

We should be continually open for the Holy Spirit to convict us of anything that is sinful or has grieved Him. In 2 Corinthians 7:10-11 we read that “Godly sorrow, leads to repentance that leads to salvation.” In Verse 11 we read how repentance produces “vehement desire and zeal.” If we ever feel that the anointing level has dropped in our lives, it may be an indication that we need to repent. In Acts 3:19 we read, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.”


God uses people who are filled with the Holy Spirit. We have the example of Barnabas “For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord.” (Acts 11:24) Notice, he was good and filled with the Holy Spirit. The only way we will influence this world for Christ is through the anointing and power of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, “It is not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord.”  (Zechariah 4:6) May God bless you as you make it your highest goal to be filled and anointed with the Holy Spirit. Amen