The words anoint and consecrate are tied closely together for God’s people. To consecrate means to set apart, as for a special purpose. The primary way something would be “set apart” in Biblical times would be to anoint it. Anoint means to smear or spread with liquid for the purposes of consecration. One way this is still done today is when a ship is christened; a liquid (usually wine or champagne) is spread on the boat as a way to set it apart for floating, rather than sinking.
In Biblical times an anointing with oil was common for the sick, to set them apart for a special measure of grace and healing. Sacred buildings would be anointed and consecrated as special places where God’s work was done. Today I still go to homes of believers and anoint them as sacred places where God is asked to be present for the blessing of Christian marriages and families.
Priests, prophets, kings and others in leadership would be anointed with other types of oil to be set apart as authoritative figures and as people administering Godly oversight. Anointing was both for the persons being set apart and for those whom they would serve, a visible indication that this person had been chosen by God, on your behalf to serve you in His name. Anointing is wonderful for many reasons, but one is to reassure both us and our leaders that we are in fact serving by God’s grace and with His blessing. It helps us submit to and honor our leadership in challenging times and helps leaders cling to God’s promises during those same challenges.
But anointing and being set apart or consecrated is not just for leaders. Every believer has been anointed, in the waters of Holy Baptism. Set apart for God’s purposes rather than man’s. Chosen by God to be His child and to administer His grace and will in our areas of influence. Have you considered that you are chosen, consecrated and anointed for special purposes? Have you participated in those purposes or run from them with fear and trembling? Have you asked God to open your eyes, heart and mind to consider what those purposes might be so you could faithfully fulfill them?
The devil’s greatest victory comes when God’s people forget who they are and ignore the special anointing that God has given each of us. You have been set apart, anointed with the waters of Baptism, anointed by the Holy Spirit, and empowered by God’s grace to be His hands, His feet, His ears, His heart, His witnesses. May God remind you of this calling and equip you in every way to fulfill it according to His purposes. “Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.” 2 Timothy 2:21
His servant and yours,
Pastor Erik Gauss