To serve God effectively—and indeed to live a victorious life in every way—one needs the anointing of the Holy Spirit. In his sermon last weekend, Pastor Wu Yuzhuang took the church through a study of what the anointing is.
In Greek, the word “anointed” is chrio, which means “to come into contact with, smear with, rub with oil, and consecrate to an office or religious service”. In the Old Testament, when the priests were rubbed with oil, they were sanctified and set apart for the mission of the priesthood. In the New Testament, oil was used while praying for the sick and casting out demons; it was also used to commission a person for ministry (Mk 6:13; Jas 5:14).
With this as a foundation, City Harvest Church pastor Wu Yuzhuang taught the church about the anointing of the Holy Spirit on the weekend of 3 and 4 Sep. “It is important to note that there is no special power in the oil itself, but the power is in the act of faith,” he explained.
DAVID, THE ANOINTED KING
1 Samuel 16:13 (NIV) reads, “So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah.”
Pastor Zhuang related the familiar story of the prophet Samuel looking for the next king of Israel. He was led to Jesse’s house where Jesse lined up seven sons before the prophet. However, Samuel told Jesse that the Lord had not chosen any of them. Finally, when Jesse presented David, his youngest son, Samuel declared that he was the Lord’s chosen one and anointed David with a horn of oil.
The pastor shared an insight held by some theologians that the act of pouring oil was the way Samuel determined who the future king would be. “That means that he tried pouring oil on the seven brothers, but the oil didn’t flow. The moment he poured it on David, the oil flowed,” the pastor said.
The fascinating thing is that the seven brothers stood in front of the horn of oil before David did, but they were not chosen. “When God has something reserved for you, it doesn’t matter who gets there first, God will reserve it for you,” Pastor Zhuang assured. In the same way, others may have applied for the same job earlier, met the clients first, or possess better qualifications, but if God had chosen a person for the job, He will keep the job for him.
Going back to 1 Samuel 16:13, the pastor explained that the phrase “from that day on” meant that something changed in David’s life that day: he had been marked by God for the purpose of being the next king of Israel. He was operating at a level of ability that exceeded his human ability, beyond his talent and gifts, and was doing things that he was not trained or taught. “When someone is anointed, he is marked, authorised, appointed, and empowered by the Holy Spirit to fulfil a purpose,” Pastor Zhuang added.
“Occasionally, we confuse talent with anointing,” he continued. The distinction between the two is that while talent entertains, the anointing delivers and frees a person. “Only the anointing has the power to break bonds and set us free,” he added.
Pastor Zhuang shared a personal story of how, when the Covid pandemic first broke out and everyone began exercising, he too jumped on the bandwagon and took out a bicycle which he had not used in a long time. It was covered in dust, so the pastor took time to clean and polish it. He thought he was all ready for a ride but to his surprise, the pedal was stuck fast and no matter how hard he pushed, it would not move. After inspecting the bicycle chain, he realised the chainguard had dried up. After he added some lubricating oil the bicycle could move freely again.
Pastor Zhuang told the church, “I want you to know that bicycles and cars are not the only things that require oil. We, too, require oil if we are to advance in life. A person may have been washed in Jesus’ blood, righteous and holy, but does he have ‘oil’? We must rely on the anointing of the Holy Spirit because it is possible to be a Christian who lives a life independent from God. It is possible to do God’s work and use God’s gifts without depending on the God of the gifts.”
CONCERNING THE ANOINTING
In Luke 4:18, Jesus said that it is God who anointed Him with the Holy Spirit to do His work. In other words, Jesus did not depend on His own ability but on the Father. Pastor Zhuang shared two key points concerning the anointing.
1. One anointing, many functions.
“Some people have this idea that God has many different types of anointing and in order to be a ‘super Christian’, they must collect all of them,” Pastor Zhuang said, noting that most vehicles on the road run on petrol regardless of their make and use, and likewise Christians depend on the same anointing, whether it is for healing or prophecy.
“This anointing that we receive from God can go beyond the four walls of the church,” the pastor said before reading 1 Kings 19:16. He noted that two people were anointed in that verse. “One (the king) was anointed to do a secular job, which was to be the government over the land; another (the prophet) was anointed to do church work, and be the spiritual minister over the people. People often think that God only anoints the pastors and the preachers, but the truth is God’s anointing is also on the believers in the marketplace,” he explained.
“In fact, you should never go to work from Monday to Friday, without asking God for the anointing,” he emphasised.
Reading 1 John 2:27, Pastor Zhuang taught that the anointing of God teaches all things. “This anointing works in the boardroom when you are holding a meeting, a classroom when you are teaching students, and if you’re a student, you can rely on the anointing to study hard,” he asserted. The anointing is the Holy Spirit’s authorisation and empowerment to fulfil God’s purpose both inside and outside the church. The pastor reiterated that believers need anointing in every aspect of their lives.
1 Samuel 17:50 tells the familiar story of David defeating Goliath. Even though Goliath had military experience and sturdy weapons, David had the support and anointing of the Holy Spirit. “Sometimes we feel that we need a sword to defeat the enemy, but what we really need is the anointing of the Holy Spirit,” the pastor said.
“When we function under the anointing, we may not have the world’s ‘sword’—experience or training—but God’s anointing will empower what we have when we use it to fulfil His purpose for our lives.”
2. New season, new supply
In 2 Samuel 2:4, the men of Judah came to Hebron to anoint David as king. This happened about 15 years after David was anointed by Samuel. In 2 Samuel 5:3, David was anointed king over Israel—seven years after he was anointed king over Judah.
“A new season requires a new supply; a new responsibility requires new anointing,” Pastor Zhuang taught. David wrote in Psalms 32:10, “I have been anointed with fresh oil.” Like David, “we are coming into a new season, and we need God’s fresh oil to come upon us,” the pastor declared.
God brought David into office progressively. Bringing this closer home, Pastor Zhuang noted, “Just because you haven’t stepped into everything that God has anointed you for doesn’t mean God isn’t with you.”
He imagined that David must have been overjoyed to be anointed as king the first time at his father’s house. But right after anointing him, Samuel left for Ramah, leaving David wondering what would happen next. Samuel improved David’s condition but not his position—despite having the king’s anointing, David continued to tend to his father’s sheep.
What does one do when he finds that his anointing and opportunity do not match? The pastor exhorted the church to recognise that the season of anointing is not always the season of appointing. “God wants to prepare and equip us so that we don’t arrive at our destiny underdeveloped, causing harm to ourselves or to others,” he explained.
In that season of preparation, Pastor Zhuang encouraged the church to first be faithful in what they do. David was anointed King, but he stayed at his father’s house, tending to his father’s sheep. He had a talent for playing the harp, which he continued to develop. His hard work paid off when someone recognised his ability and recommended that he play in Saul’s palace (1 Sam 16:18-19).
For those who feel that their hard work has been overlooked, Pastor Zhuang assured them that God sees and that one day, He will bring someone who appreciates their faithfulness. He urged them to continue improving their skills while they wait.
Going back to the story of David, Pastor Zhuang noted that David stepped into the palace not as the king, but as a servant to the king. His job was to carry the King’s armour but when Saul was tormented by the evil spirits, he would ask David to play him the harp.
Speaking to those who feel that they are not being given the opportunity to do what they are capable of, the pastor encouraged them that God places them where they are, to prepare them for what is ahead. David had no access to the kingdom without first serving the king. Similarly, God has to first equip his believers before elevating them to the position He has prepared for them.
Secondly, one has to develop his skills while waiting. David already had the anointing, but God had to shape his abilities to match his anointing. He knew how to lead sheep, but leading people would require a whole new skill set.
Similarly, God leads His believers into their position gradually so that they can grow and eventually, their skills and anointing will match their responsibility. Their willingness to develop their skills will determine how far the anointing takes them.
Finally, one has to cultivate perseverance while waiting. David experienced tremendous hardship in his life—he was rejected by his family and King Saul sought to kill him several times. Yet David never retaliated.
Jeremiah 12:5 reads, ‘if you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses?’ “In other words, if I am worn out at this level of responsibility, how can God bring me to the next level?” the pastor questioned. “The higher God brings us, the more we need to build up our perseverance.”
In closing, Pastor Zhuang told the church that they cannot fight today’s battle with yesterday’s stale oil—every Christian needs fresh oil. He encouraged them to be faithful and to develop their skills while waiting for God, and to cultivate their perseverance so that one day, they will run with horses.
He ended the service with a time of prayer for those who sought a fresh anointing from the Holy Spirit.