There is a special and supernatural touch upon your life if you are an authentic Christian. This is true not just for those who speak of an unusual spiritual experience and who refer to it as the reason for their effectiveness and usefulness. It is not just for those whom the sovereign Spirit grants such encounters. Rather, it’s true of you too.
Yes, it is. Sometimes God manifests Himself in a rare moment of glory, as with Paul, when he was “caught up to the third heaven” and yet he said that he “heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter” (II Corinthians 12:1-4).
Jonathan Edwards spoke of an experience when God’s Spirit revealed Jesus to him that made him “rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy” (read I Peter 1:8). The list is long of those who have had extraordinary experiences with God.
Never would we deny that the inward witness of God’s Spirit may confirm in the heart of a believer a foretaste of glory or an incredible deliverance from demons, doubt, or spiritual depression. People speak of how they were released and liberated and when this breakthrough intensified their walk with God; all this we would never dare to challenge. Yet, the Holy Spirit does not produce people who make loud claims for themselves. One of our greatest spokesmen for Christ in my lifetime said, “I have never met a person truly filled with the Holy Spirit who spoke of it as making him superior to other Christians.”
Long ago, a Scottish divine from Haddington, named John Brown, said, “Holiness does not consist in mystic speculations, enthusiastic fervours, or uncommanded austerities; it consists in thinking as God thinks and willing as God wills.” After all, the Holy Spirit’s work is not to make us odd, it is to make the believer be conformed to the image of God’s Son, that is, conformed to Christ’s image. That will be seen in “active moral effort which is energized by a prayerful and expectant faith.” George B. Duncan said it well, pointing out, “The fruit of the Spirit is not excitement or orthodoxy; it is character.” Dr. J. I. Packer comments, “All through the New Testament, when God’s work in human lives is spoken of, the ethical takes priority over the charismatic.” That is, godliness comes before giftedness. There are two things no person can desire too passionately: the first, personal holiness in one’s life and the second, salvation of people in order to honor Jesus Christ.
Billy Graham told of a unique experience as he and his wife sailed the Atlantic for a crusade in England. He suddenly felt a frightening sense of inadequacy; a gloomy depression came over him. One day with his team and Ruth, his wife, in prayer, he had a powerful breakthrough. Later he wrote:
“As I wept before the Lord, I was filled with deep assurance that power belonged to God and He was faithful. I had been baptized by the Spirit into the body of Christ when I was saved, but I believe God gave me a special anointing on the way to England. From that moment I was confident that God the Holy Spirit was in control.”
The results of that crusade proved it beyond all doubt. Graham confessed that often team members said that he preached with the greatest power and liberty when he felt the greatest sense of physical weakness and even a sense of failure. You may be struggling along without a clear realization of what God has given you in the person of the Holy Spirit who indwells your life. Ask for His reassurances and renewing presence. Realize, it’s yours for the asking!
And yet, when the Holy Spirit controls a life, that can be no more concealed than a fire, but it will be a life to be lived among people and lived out in real life. The Holy Spirit does not make you want to live in a cave, He makes you want to live with Christ in the world of today. “Living in a hole does not make you holier,” said Vance Havner.
Now, we return to the original title—What You May Not Realize. It is this, you have been “anointed” because it’s not an experience of a few Christians, for all Christians have been “anointed.” You may not realize it, but this was stated by Paul, “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 …” (II Corinthians 1:21-22, NIV) But John made the same claim for all believers, “What is more, you have been anointed by the Holy One, and so you all have knowledge.” He adds, “But as for you, the anointing which you received from him remains with you …” (I John 2:20, 27, REB)
Oswald Chambers gives us a reminder that would help make us wise, saying, “Never make a principle out of your experience; let God be as original with other people as He is with you.”
Possibly you have heard stories of people who lived on land hardly able to produce enough for the family to live on until—yes, until—oil was discovered; but it had been there all along! Suddenly, they realized what they had, and their lives were changed forever! Understanding the presence of the Holy Spirit is much like that because the Scripture places no limits upon the Spirit’s work in and through a Christian to glorify Christ and extend His kingdom. D. L. Moody said, “God commands us to be filled with the Spirit, and if we are not filled, it is because we are living beneath our privilege.”
And again to return to the theme, with which I will conclude, I borrow a statement from A. W. Tozer, “The Spirit-filled life is not a special, deluxe edition of Christianity. It is part and parcel of the total plan of God for His people.” With that wonderful quote we conclude, giving glory to God and reminding us what we have in Him.
And now live with this as a reality in your life. Realize it is a secret for living the life He has planned for you. And now, hopefully you realize what you have in Him.