In the Kingdom of God, we receive by grace all the benefits that Jesus obtained for us at the cross, for example, salvation, healing, deliverance, freedom, joy, etc. In Ephesians 2:8 it says that “By grace you are saved through faith…” Although this applies to our salvation, it can also apply to other areas of our lives as well. Grace is what God does for us, faith is what we do to receive that what God gives us through grace.
However, although many things are free, there is a cost to experiencing the anointing of the Holy Spirit and the power of God. In the Parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25:1-10, we read about the wise and foolish virgins. The difference between these two groups of people, was the amount of oil that they had. The oil speaks of the Holy Spirit, and especially about the anointing of the Holy Spirit. When the foolish virgins ran out of oil, they asked the wise virgins to give to them some of their oil.
We read in Matthew 25:8-9, where the foolish virgins said to the wise, “Give us some of your oil for our lamps are going out. But the wise answered and said, ‘no, lest there be not enough for us and you, but go rather to those who sell and buy for your selves.“
We notice that the foolish virgins had to go and buy oil from those that sold oil. This implies that there was a price they had to pay for the oil. In the same way, there is a cost and sacrifice that we may need to make in order to be be anointed and to be full of the Holy Spirit. It is obvious that certain people are more anointed than others.
We have the example in Acts 6:3 where they had to choose deacons in the church. They said, “Seek out seven men filled with the Holy Spirit.” This implies that there were those who were filled and those who were not filled with the Holy Spirit, even though they were all Born Again. Therefore, the reason why certain people are filled, and others not, is that they were willing to pay the price to be so.
Illustration from Ezekiel 47:
This passage of Scripture may refer to the temple in the New Jerusalem, but we can also find principles for the flow and anointing of the Holy Spirit in our personal lives. In verse 1 we read, “Then he brought me back to the door of the temple; and there was water, flowing from under the threshold of the temple toward the east...” This is possibly the verse that Jesus was referring to in John 7:37-38, when He said, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spoke He of the Spirit…” Furthermore we read in 1 Corinthians 6:19 says that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit.
So this is a type of the anointing of the Holy Spirit flowing from us towards others. In verses 3-5, we read, “And when the man went out to the east with the line in his hand, he measured one thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the water came up to my ankles. Again he measured one thousand and brought me through the waters; the water came up to my knees. Again he measured one thousand and brought me through; the water came up to my waist. Again he measured one thousand, and it was a river that I could not cross; for the water was too deep, water in which one must swim, a river that could not be crossed.
What we notice here is that, the more the man measured the river, the more water flowed in the river. We may ask the question: “What does this measuring mean?” We find the answer in Ezekiel 42:20, where it says the measurement was “to separate what is holy from the profane.” God is holy; and that which is not of God is profane! Therefore, the man who measures is a type of the Holy Spirit who sanctifies us and conforms us, to be more and more like Jesus.
Therefore, if we allow Him to measure our lives, and to separate from us those things that are unholy and not pleasing to God, the more we will experience the anointing and the flow of the Holy Spirit. It is not necessarily only one great step of surrender or obedience to Jesus, but it can be an ongoing process. Furthermore, He not only wants to deal with obvious outward sins, but also the sins of the heart, such as our attitudes, motives, thoughts, etc.
In Ezekiel 20:16 we read about the “idols of the heart.” An idol is something that comes between us and our love and devotion to Jesus. There may be certain things that we do not consider sinful, for example: The programs or the films that we watch, our hobbies, the books that we read, our love for sports, or the demands of our children or grandchildren, etc. These things can be idols in our hearts that can hinder the anointing and quench the Holy Spirit.
We also note that the more the man measured the river, the deeper the level of the water and the greater the flow in the river. So, the more we allow the Holy Spirit to “measure” us, the greater we will experience the flow and anointing of the Holy Spirit.
Four different profiles:
The ankle deep Christian: This is someone can move fairly freely in the river and even walk against the flow of the river. He is independent and not controlled by the Holy Spirit. For example, he goes to church when it suites him and he is not too tired or does not have something else to do. He occasionally prays when he feels like it and especially when he has a crisis. He sometimes reads his Bible, as long as it does not interfere with TV or the internet. He gives occasionally, as long as it is not too much of a sacrifice. He would rather give in to the demands of his family, children or grandchildren than to get involved in the church. He basically does his own thing and is not aware of being led by the Holy Spirit. He is aware of some influence of the Holy Spirit on his life, but his anointing is very limited, it is only “ankle deep.”
The knee deep Christian: This is someone who has less independence than the ankle deep Christian. He no longer moves freely in the river and is more aware of the presence and leading of the Holy Spirit. However, he still basically does as he pleases. He regularly goes to church, pays his tithes and will even have a disciplined devotional life. However, he still determines where he lives and works, and whom he marries. He asks God to bless what he want to do, instead of doing what God is blessing. He will still put the demands of his family, relatives and friends before fellowship with other Christians. In the eyes of many, he is following the Lord and is regarded as quite a good Christian and church member.
The waist deep Christian: This is someone that can no longer go against the flow of the river and move freely in the river. This person appears to be quite spiritual and committed. He prays and reads his Bible regularly. He is committed to the local church and even pays his tithes. He is someone that leads people to Christ, prays for the sick and can even preach a good message. He may even be respected leader in the Church or a committed missionary.
However, the fact that he can still stand in the river, means that he has not made a total surrender of his life to Christ. He still holds onto his possessions as if they are his own, and is not able to trust God to provide all his needs. There is therefore a limit to how much he will sacrifice for the sake of the Kingdom of God. However, Jesus said in Luke 14:33, “Whoever of you who does not forsake all that he has, cannot be My disciple.” This takes us to the next level of commitment.
The water over the head Christian: This is someone whose feet can no longer touch the bottom of the river and has totally lost his independence. He can only go where the river takes him! He will do whatever the Holy Spirit tells him to do, even if it costs him everything. He lives in total dependence on the Holy Spirit. His finances, possessions and time wholly belong to the Lord. He lives according to 2 Corinthians 5:15 that says, “That they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” He is dead to self and lives entirely for Jesus and the Kingdom of God. He is even willing to die for Christ. Those who live this way will experience an unlimited flow of God’s power, anointing and blessing in their lives. There is no limit to what God will do for him, in him and through him.
As we read further in the book of Ezekiel we see two results of an anointed life. Firstly in Ezekiel 47:7 it says, “When I returned, there, along the bank of the river, were very many trees on one side and the other.” Many trees implies a fruitful and productive life. In John 15:16, Jesus said, “I have chosen you to go and bear fruit, and that your fruit shall remain…”
Secondly in Ezekiel 47:9, we read, “And it shall be that every living thing that moves, wherever the rivers go, will live. There will be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters go there; for they will be healed, and everything will live wherever the river goes.” Multitude of fish speak about the salvation of souls. An anointed person will lead many souls to Christ, and will see many miracles and healing. Furthermore, wherever they go, they will impart the life of Christ to others.
There are many modern day examples of those who paid the price and were greatly anointed. For example, A.A. Allan, who was probably one of the most anointed healing evangelists of the previous century said that the Holy Spirit gave him a list of things that needed to change in his life in order to be anointed. One of the most anointed people that I have ever met was challenged by the Lord never to say, “no Lord” again. This person has planted thousands of churches and has a phenomenal anointing for healing.
One of the most anointed men in the Old Testament was Elisha. We read in 1 Kings 19:21, that when Elijah called him, he was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen. He immediately burnt all his plows, sacrificed the oxen, and followed Elijah. He went from being a wealthy farmer, to a servant that washed the hands of Elijah. As a result, he received a double portion of Elijah’s anointing.
We have the example of Paul in the New Testament who said in Philippians 3:8, “I count all things but loss for the Excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord…” He was prepared to do anything and go anywhere for Jesus and that is why he had such an incredible anointing.
However, Jesus was our greatest example who said to His Father, “Not My will, but Yours be done.” He was prepared to die on the cross for us and pay the ultimate price! That is why we read in John 3:34, that as a man, He was “given the Spirit, without measure.”
Life comes out of death:
This is the principle of the cross. “Out of death comes life.” Whatever God blesses and uses first goes through a death process. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:12, “Death works in us, and life in you.” Therefore, whatever we allow the Holy Spirit to measure in us, will become a source of life to others.
For example, if we allow the Holy Spirit to measure our tongue, God will use our tongue to become a fountain of life to others. If we allow Him to measure our eyes, he will use our eyes to show compassion and love to others. If we allow Him to measure our finances, He will release finances through us to bless others, etc.
Finally: The anointing is not only to empower usfor ministry and miracles; but it is to prepare us for eternity. We read in Matthew 25:10, “and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.” The wise virgins, who had paid the price for the oil, were ready to meet the Bridegroom. Therefore, may God bless and use you as you allow the Holy Spirit to measure you so that there will be a great release of God’s power, anointing and blessing in your life. Amen