The Ananias Anointing

The Scripture indicates that in the middle of his High Priest sanctioned rampage against the early Church, Saul of Tarsus had a supernatural encounter with the resurrected Jesus (Acts 9).  Falling down from the overwhelming force of God’s glory, Saul exclaimed, “Who are you, Lord?” The Lord replied, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” Saul, now blind and infirmed, was taken into the city of Damascus to receive care.

The Lord then came to a man named Ananias in a vision and commanded him to go to Saul of Tarsus and lay hands on him that he might be healed and be filled with the Holy Spirit.  Despite the threats Saul had made and his notorious track record of persecuting, arresting, and even affirming the execution of Christians, Ananias, whose name means “to be gracious and to show favor,” honored the call of God and went to Saul because the Lord had great plans for Saul of Tarsus. Jesus called him his chosen instrument to preach to the gentiles and to their kings.

The Ananias type of believer, or the Ananias anointing, is desperately needed in the day we live.  Like Ananias with Saul, they help to restore to God what was previously lost, allow God to use them to bring healing to those that are afflicted, help God’s people get filled with the Holy Spirit, and help raise people up for God’s service and glory. We need more individuals in the body of Christ who, like Ananias, will be dispensers of God’s grace and favor, refusing to pay attention to the anti-supernaturalist and cessationist who deny the present day ministry of the Holy Spirit.

How can you become an Ananias in this critical hour in Church history? First, you must yourself be born again and filled with the Spirit. You cannot impart what you do not possess. Second, you must be tuned in to the realm of the spirit so that you can pick up on the signals of the Holy Spirit’s direction.  Notice Ananias was told to go specifically to the house of Judas in Damascus on Straight Street where he would find a praying Saul who had a vision Ananias would come to him. Third, you must be fearless in the face of the ominous threat and intimidation so prevalent in the world today against Christians.  It’s not that Ananias didn’t feel afraid. He simply refused to be ruled by that emotion. Fourth, you must be obedient and simply go.  It’s amazing how often Jesus uses that simple command.  Finally, you must be deliberate to carry out the details of your assignment, including the who, the what, and the where.

When Ananias placed his hands on Saul he was filled with the Holy Spirit, healed of his blindness, received water baptism, and began to eat and regain his strength. The Lord is in need of bold believers just like Ananias to share the resurrected Jesus with the lost, confused, religious, bound up, and hurting of our world.  He has sovereignly chosen to use people to lead people to salvation, Spirit baptism, deliverance, and healing.  Ask the Lord Jesus to send you, and don’t be surprised when he says, “Go!”

Fig Leaf Theology

Fig LeafIf you think about it for long you will realize how much Adam and Eve had it made in the garden of Eden.  God made two perfect people and placed them in a perfect environment where the climate was controlled, where every need and delight was readily available, and where no war, famine, sickness, or tragedy ever manifested.  In addition to God’s provision, He clothed Adam and Eve with the very cloak of heaven – the glory of God.  To see Adam and Eve in the garden was to behold two blazing balls of light and glory obscuring their human form to the eye until…until Eve was deceived and Adam disobeyed and the glory departed, their eyes were opened, they saw they were naked, and they fashioned fig leaves to cover their nakedness.  Remarkably, Adam and Eve traded the glory of God for a couple of fig leaves.

In sin, fear, and shame they hid their nakedness from God behind the bushes.  But thanks to God’s revealed plan to have Jesus die for the sins of the whole world (Genesis 3:15) the animal skins temporarily replacing the fig leaves would one day be permanently retired for the atoning power of the blood of Jesus that would obliterate their sin (and ours) and not just cover it.  What was lost in the garden through sin was to be recovered and made available to anyone that would accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

Unfortunately, many believers today, though technically saved through the blood of Jesus, continue to think and act as if they were still wearing fig leaves and hiding in the bushes from God and all He offers to His people.  The Lord wants us to trade those fig leaves back in for the glory of God and do what Paul described in 2 Corinthians 4:18 – “with unveiled faces…reflect the Lord’s glory…being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”  To walk in the glory of God going from degree of glory to degree of glory, we have to trade that tired old fig leaf thinking and theology for glory of God thinking.

The devil’s goal is to deceive us into thinking that we have to live with a mentality of hiding and shame, mediocrity, low expectations, guilt, failure, sin consciousness, curse, bondage, sickness, lack, and fear.  The Spirit of God would have us embrace God’s thoughts of transparency and openness, excellence, high expectations, transformation, peace, success, righteousness, blessing, freedom, healing, victory, and confidence.  Too many believers see themselves today like the spies did when spying out the land of Canaan – they saw themselves as grasshoppers.  You might say that the spies saw themselves as fig leaf wearers.  Many believers see themselves the same way.  We know from Scripture, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7, NKJV).  If we can’t change our thinking, no matter what Jesus has done, we cannot enjoy God’s best.

The Lord invites us all to trade that old fig leaf back in and walk in the glory of God that is restored in Jesus Christ.  How? First, we must end our attempts to cover up or hide and get real with God about our lives knowing that, “He who conceals his sin does not prosper, but he who renounces them finds mercy” (Proverbs 28:13). Second, we must renew our minds to the realities of God’s glory and grace available to us now as believers.  We will never think kingdom of God thoughts until we get consistently and habitually into His Word. Third, we must walk in God’s presence.  God’s presence is the key to expanding the glory of God and all that glory offers.  As the glory of God was reflected in Moses’ face after spending time in God’s presence, so we can experience a greater measure of God’s glory in our own lives but without the fading of that glory Moses experienced as a man living without the amazing benefits of the new birth in Christ.  Don’t wait another day. Come out of the bushes, get into the Word, and get into God’s presence and when you do you will find that the fig leaf is truly gone forever.

Spiritual Streakers

“Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked” (2 Corinthians 5:2-3, NIV).

If we could look back in time into the Garden of Eden before Adam and Eve’s fall in Genesis 3 we would have witnessed a relatively strange sight. Because Adam and Eve were created to be perfect and at this time knew no sin, we would see what looked like two balls of light walking through and tending to the Garden. When the Lord showed up to meet with his people we would then witness a third, more intense ball of light joining them. Because of their purity and the intensity of the light or the glory of God, it never dawned on them (and they could care less) that they were naked (they were naked and unashamed). In other words, their actual clothing was the glory of God which protected them as well as clothed them. It wasn’t until the light went out (the glory departed) because of their disobedience that they realized they were naked and sought cover in the bushes (people do the same thing today when they are exposed). That day they shed their supernatural raiment and became spiritual streakers. God then made temporary skin coverings for them that would eventually be replaced by the sin obliterating power of the cross and the restoration of the glory.

Many do not realize just how far we as humans fell that day in Genesis and the magnitude of what was compromised and lost but we do get a glimpse of the value of our former state by the amazing sacrifice of Jesus Christ to restore life and the glory of God to his people. Because of the blood of Jesus, the light and power of God’s glory is once again available to us (if we repent and receive him as Lord and Savior). This restoration of the glory has its full manifestation in the resurrection (or translation at the rapture) of the believer when the glorified body is provided but we have increasing access to that glory now: “And we, who will unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, and being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 4:18).

The transfiguration of Jesus in Mark 9 reveals some very powerful principles for accelerating the manifestation of his glory in our lives (putting our glory clothes back on). Six days before being transfigured, Jesus mentioned that some standing with him would not taste death before they had seen the kingdom of God come in power (Mark 9:1). The Lord still desires for his people to move from one degree of glory to another. I want to share four keys that will position you to advance in the glory of God (get your clothes back on you streaker):

First, just like the disciples you have to go up the mountain or go up to a higher level. No doubt when you do this some will not and cannot make the trip with you. To go up (as John Maxwell often says) you have to give something up. We can’t lug our pride, bitterness, impurity, or wrong motives up the mountain with us. If we want to position ourselves for a greater degree of the glory we have to take some junk out of our trunk. This might even include some compromising or ungodly relationships. I’ve learned to ask myself through the years if a certain attitude, relationship, or practice is worth the glory? It’s very powerful and centering to say to ourselves, “that’s just not worth the glory.”

Second, the transfiguration of Jesus took place when he was alone with this inner core of disciples. The price for higher levels of the manifested presence or glory of God in our lives is intimacy with the Father. We simply must begin to invest the quality and quantity of time in our relationship to know Him as we are known. I heard a man of God say once that every failure in the believer’s life can be traced back to the failure to pray. Let’s not allow coldness or spiritual apathy to rob us of going to the next level in the things of God.

Third, we need to catch a glimpse of what the glory will do. No doubt Jesus was transfigured to show the disciples the true nature of Jesus Christ – that he was the pure and holy spotless Son of God who comes to take away the sin of the world. It would have been a rare privilege to see Jesus for who he really was. It is vital though to understand here that Jesus was not just showing them who he was, he was trying to show them who and what they were to become in him. This is an amazing and staggering thought. We know from Scripture as he is so shall we be. The transfiguration is like a very sophisticated mirror revealing not only the nature of God but reminding us that as believers we are to reflect that glory and become transformed by it.

Finally, we need to make sure we listen to Jesus. During the transfiguration Jesus was flanked by Moses and Elijah representing the law and the prophets, but the voice of the Father boomed out to remind the witnesses that Jesus fulfilled the law and the prophets and the great need today is to listen to him rather than to all the competing voices out in the world. The key to walking in the fulness of our spiritual covering, the glory of God, we must hear him and act on what we have heard. As we have learned by going all the way back to the Garden of Eden, disobedience compromises the glory. We know from the example of Jesus and the lessons learned during his transfiguration that obedience is an open door to the glory in our lives.

Expect the Glory

“And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you” (Romans 8:11, NIV).

As Bible believers we understand that our God is omnipresent (everywhere present). But there are times in the Bible and in our lives when the glory of God or manifested presence of God is concentrated and focused in such a way that we can tangibly identify or discern the glory and also observe that real positive results are produced as a result of that glory. The Word “manifested” means that God’s presence is readily and clearly perceived or made obvious (we can’t possibly miss point).

Moses understood that it was the glory or manifest presence of God that would distinguish him and the people of God from the rest of world. When Moses asked the Lord to show him His glory the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you” (Exodus 33:18-19). The glory can be understood to be the “heaviness” of God. This means that the Lord is heavy with everything good. In other words, the glory is literally manifested goodness (a revelation of his nature, will, and power). Psalm 31:19 indicates that God has goodness stored up for those that fear Him. The Psalmist boldly exclaims in Psalm 86:17, “Give me a sign of your goodness, that my enemies may see it and be put to shame.” Clearly the glory of God is not just a religious phrase or concept but a tangible, practical revealing of God’s presence and power in real life situations.

It is important for us to remember in challenging times that historically and biblically the glory has been behind God’s amazing operation in this world. Creation was accomplished by the glory. The Red Sea was parted by the glory. The enemies of God were routed by the glory. The miracles of God were the result of the glory. Jesus was resurrected by the glory. That same glory is working among us today to save, transform, heal, and deliver. He never changes and the glory has not diminished in its power. What was available then is available to us now.

I want to encourage you to read and reflect on the story of the woman from Syrian Phoenicia whose daughter was bound by demonic power (Mark 7:24-30). Despite being a Gentile she revealed in her interaction with Jesus some very powerful principles for tapping into the glory, goodness, and power of God. If someone outside the covenants and promises of God at that time (Ephesians 2:11) can tap into the glory of God through faith in Jesus, how much more can we who have experienced the new birth expect and receive the glory.

How to tap into the glory of God…

  1. Realize the glory is directly tied to Jesus’ presence (v. 24). Because the glory is the manifested presence of God and Jesus is the fullness of the godhead bodily, the glory is revealed now in proximity to Jesus.
  2. Notice that the glory catches the world’s attention (v. 25). The most hardened sinner and the biggest antagonist still needs the power of God. The world ignores religion, rules of men, potluck dinners, and church singings, but they are seriously attracted by the glory of God (1 Corinthians 4:20).
  3. Know that begging does not release the glory (v. 26). Begging and pleading is not believing. Faith, not the need, no matter how great, is the basis for the releasing of the glory.
  4. Remember that the glory belongs to the believer (v. 27). The manifested presence of God (heavy with everything good) is a covenant privilege reserved for the people of God. Healing, deliverance, and provision are all the “children’s bread” (meaning “for the kids”).
  5. Express faith to access the covenant glory of God (v. 28). We go from outside of the family to inside the family of God with (1) a decision of the will, and (2) the faith-filled declaration of the mouth (Romans 10:9-10). Remember that Rahab by choice aligned herself with the invading force of God and is now identified in the earthly lineage of Jesus Christ for all eternity (Hebrews 11:31).
  6. Expect results when the glory is tapped (vv. 29-30). When we take that step of faith (and faith pleases the Lord) we should expect that the glory will show up bringing life-changing results. Contrary to some who have equated the glory of God to strange church services and “stupid human tricks” (courtesy of David Letterman) done in God’s name, the real indication that the glory of God has manifested is that we are closer to God, and we are changed in some significant way.