How does anointing work? Are all Christians anointed? (like all Christians are priests) or is it a specific act? I hear people say “give us an anointing” or “that person is anointed for that work.” What does that mean? Also, at some conference sessions, they ask people to come to the front and get a cross written in oil on their forehead. What does that mean or do? Is that considered anointing?
The basic definition of anointing is to put oil on someone’s head or body. It the Jewish culture of the Bible is was common practice. A host might anoint the heads of his guests (Luke 7:46). It was also an Old Testament practice to anoint prophets, priests, and kings as part of the ceremony around their position.
In 2 Corinthians, Paul uses anointing as a spiritual metaphor. Verses 1:21-22 say “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”
Say when people say that someone is “anointed for” something they basically mean the same thing as “called to”, that God created them for that thing. Which is true of all of us. We are all called by God to our specific path.
Where the idea of anointing goes in a wrong direction is when someone tries to convince you that Jesus loves those who have had oil rubbed on their head are more than people who haven’t. It doesn’t do anything, it is symbolic. Oil making you more enlightened may be part of some belief systems, but it certainly isn’t Christianity.
There is no secret ultra level of Christianity. Anytime somebody tries to convince you that there is a trick to being a super-Christian, especially one found in their book or conference, you need to take a long, skeptical look at what they are telling you.
-Matt from The Bridge