Holiness is a Requisite for Being God’s Anointed
It is only those with clean hands and pure hearts who can ascend God’s hill and see the Lord (Psalm 24:4; Matthew 5:8), and only those living righteously who can dwell with the divine, consuming flames (Isaiah 33:14-16). Purity is paramount, and intimacy with the Holy One requires integrity of heart and mind. His eyes are too pure to look at sin (Habakkuk 1:13)
Think back to the time when Aaron and his four sons were consecrated as the first priests. After Moses and Aaron offered up the required sacrifices, “And fire came out from before the LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the pieces of fat on the altar, and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces” (Leviticus 9:24) Not long after that
Aaron’s two oldest sons, Nadab and Abihu, offered up strange fire to the Lord, and “fire came
out from before the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD” (Leviticus 10:2). First Aaron’s sacrifices were burned by divine fire; then Aaron’s sons were burned up by
divine fire. God’s holy, manifest presence did not mix with disobedience!
Think back to the early chapters of Acts. The Holy Spirit was poured out mightily. Signs, wonders, and miracles were taking place and thousands were being added to the congregation. People were freely selling their possessions and sharing their wealth with those in need (Acts 4:32-37). Then Ananias and Sapphira conspired to lie to the Holy Spirit, and within hours, both of them dropped dead at Peter’s feet (Acts 5:1-11). When God draws near in such extraordinary ways, we dare not play games!
We must remember that, in Paul’s words, “a little leaven leavens the whole lump” (1 Corinthians 5:6) and if we allow the sacred presence of revival to be corrupted and tainted, we will quickly put out the Spirit’s fire in our midst.
Of course, all this should be self-evident, but often it is not. Why? It is because God seems to use people supernaturally despite their obvious character flaws and weaknesses. Who are we to judge? Who are we to “touch God’s anointed”? (By the way, Ps 105:15, which contains the famous “touch not Mine anointed” phrase, is one the most misused and abused verses in the Bible, especially by power-hungry, insecure leaders.)
After all, if the Holy Spirit sees fit to anoint and empower someone, if we then find fault with the vessel, aren’t we guilty of criticizing God’s choice and God’s standards and God’s wisdom? Do we know better than the Lord? It is for reasons like this that we often get casual with sin, tolerating things that displease the Lord. Dare we speak against “God’s man” (or, woman)?
Let’s be honest. It’s a little intimidating when someone seems to be operating under a tremendous anointing. “Look at those healings! What amazing words of knowledge! He (or she) seems to know the very thoughts I’m thinking! All they have to do is look in my direction and I crumble under the power!” And so, we conclude, whatever issues they seem to have, those issues are obviously not stopping God from working through them, so we better keep our concerns to ourselves.
Big mistake! Very big mistake! A monumentally big mistake! (Am I making myself clear?)
Haven’t we learned our lesson from ancient history, when anointed vessels like Samson went shipwreck? This man was a national leader whose birth was supernaturally foretold and who was a Nazarite from his mother’s womb, but his character flaws brought him low and sapped him of his anointing. His recklessness and carnality destroyed his life, despite his high calling and special gifting. For the good of today’s Samsons, for the good of those they are called to minister to, and for the honor of the name of the Lord, we must call them to account with love and grace, not allowing them to implode or explode.
The anointing does not make us untouchable, nor does a distinct heavenly calling and divine mantle make us bigger or better than anyone else, especially than our fellow-leaders. Rather, “to whom much is given, much is required” (see Luke 12:48), and the more we are publicly identified with the name of Jesus, the stricter our judgment will be.
The Spirit of God is a Holy Spirit (how do we ever forget that?), and holiness (as opposed to religious traditionalism or legalism) is neither old-fashioned nor destructive. To the contrary, it is liberating and invigorating and transforming and empowering. How wonderful to strive to be like the Lord! “Be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy.” That should be our passion and goal.
The simple truth is that the Holy Spirit is not divided between fruit and gifts, and the one who empowers people to heal and work miracles and preach with conviction is the same one who produces in us “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).
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