One lesson the Lord has been teaching me of late is the difference between calling and anointing. All Christians have a calling but not all Christians have an anointing.
A calling signifies the place you occupy in Christ's body. Some people are the mouth (speakers), some are the hands (servants) and others are the eyes (prophets), etc. In Romans chapter twelve Paul refers to these callings as 'gifts.' Since all Christians are members of Christ, all have unique callings. And since you can never be taken out of Christ, you will have this calling or 'ministry' for the rest of your life and possibly throughout eternity.
An anointing is something completely different. This is how much of the Presence of God refracts off your life in general and off your ministry specifically. The word 'anoint' literally means 'to smear or pour oil over.' In the biblical worldview, oil is almost always symbolic of the Holy Spirit (1 Sam. 16:13) and thus someone who is 'anointed' has the Holy Spirit 'all over' them. Simply put, an anointed person or ministry will be overflowing with the presence of Jesus.
So why are some Christians anointed and others are not? The first reason should be obvious enough. Most Christians have no overflowing presence of Jesus in their lives or ministries because they are never themselves in the presence of Jesus. There is simply no heart devotion. This is sad but common and I have been there times without number. Christians who don't continually place themselves in the presence of Jesus through prayer and worship will soon lose this 'anointing.' Remember what we are told in Acts: "Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus" (Acts 4:13).
The second reason why Christians would not have this anointing is equally obvious and I would offer myself as an example: I am called to preach the gospel. I know this. I will preach it till the day I die even if it means that I am killed in doing so. I have no doubt whatsoever of my 'calling.'
I have noticed, however, over the last five or six months; less and less of an anointing on my preaching. Less loving, more crass. Less of a witness, more of an advocate. Less assurance, more striving. Less joy, more angst. Less power, more flesh. Less sincerity, more hypocrisy. Why?
Last week the Lord showed me. It became very clear that I still had feelings of resentment towards a brother. It had been so long and I had become so used to my sin that I hardly even noticed it anymore. My deceitfully wicked heart had got one up on me.
Recently I saw the brother expected the normal small talk that we so often have. Just enough exchange not to be rude and then off we go. This time, however, it was very different. I could tell immediately that he himself was a new man. The thing was so obvious. The presence of Jesus - the anointing - was all over him and as soon as I saw that all my bitterness and resentment completely lifted off of me...never to return.
It was only then that I understood how much this one sin had almost completely eradicated my anointing. I bless God for His mercy and realized afresh that if we want Christ's companionship we can harbor no willful sin - no matter how justified we believe we are in doing so (1 John 1).
As I was driving into the city today to go preach the glorious gospel I was literally weeping over the goodness of God. I got my anointing back simply through another brother getting his back. The presence of Jesus on his life had 'washed away' my sin of resentment! I was so filled with faith and wonder I could have lept for joy. Thousands heard the glad tidings. Indeed, it was the most wonderful day I have had preaching in a long time.
Dear brother or sister...I know you are called. The question remains: are you anointed?