This word puzzles me. I’ve heard it used a few times, purely in evangelical*** circles, though I’ve read it online a fair bit. I treat it with caution because of my suspicion that the person is speaking ‘Christianese’ (you know, a way to make yourself sound all good and holy and stuff because you say the ‘right’ phrases).
You know, like how anyone wanting to win an argument will say “ah, but it’s biblical, you know”. As if their utterance of ‘biblical’ makes it akin to the Roman Catholic pope’s ex cathedra (‘infallible’, if you’ve not heard it before).
Anyway, today Shaun Groves posted on this topic, and it reminded me of something a friend said last week: “I’m so glad Nick is coming to preach at our church. His preaching is so anointed!” Her smile as she spoke was filled with a brief, bright joy. For the next few days, I looked forward to the sermon.
After the service, my friend made the same comment. I gave a reply commenting on the bible verses used rather than the actual preaching. She’s not the type of person to feel the need to speak ‘Christianese’, but what was ‘anointed’ for her was decidedly underwhelming for me.
As I was sitting listening to a man who was obviously a very genuine person – caring, passionate about his calling, etc. – and feeling vaguely annoyed/bored/hot (it was very hot and stuffy – the new PA system means the windows can’t be opened so it’s like sitting in a greenhouse) I was mentally muttering to myself, “When is he actually going to say something? I’m not sure I’ve heard him actually say anything.” I must have also been muttering this to God, because I got the sense of God saying, calmly but deliberately, “It’s not for you. What he has to say is for someone else.”
That got me thinking. Maybe God works like that. Maybe something can be ‘anointed’ even just for one person? I still don’t think it’s a word I’ll use any time soon, but it comes down to this: sometimes it’s plain bad preaching, but other times…
It’s just not for you.
‘You will fully recognise them by their fruits. Do people pick grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles?’
Matthew 7:16 (Amp)
*** for my non-UK readers, I should qualify this statement by saying that evangelicals in the UK are decidedly in the minority and Christians are very much a minority in the first place.