June 20, 2014

Overflowing gratitude and joy

“ . . . You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” (Psalm 23:5)

This portion of God’s Word is becoming even more precious this week because of some interaction with a person who is without this anointing. I’ve never been one to count my blessings based on the lack of blessing in the lives of others, yet this person vividly demonstrates to me what my life would be like without the anointing of God.

For one thing, it keeps me from being deceived by false teaching. 1 John 2:26-27 says, “I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.”

Christians in tune with the Spirit of God can spot false teaching. This ability has nothing to do with IQ. It comes from the Holy Spirit who lives in us, who has given us the mind of Christ . . .

For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:11–16)

This is why the New Testament is filled with warnings to abide in Christ and not think or act according to our sinful natures. Every time I neglect to abide, my discernment becomes blurry. It also happens if I become totally focused on one thing (like healing, or spiritual gifts, or something I want from God). He tells me to abide in Christ, be filled with the Spirit, and not let the flesh win that battle between it and God’s Spirit. This is vital in fighting false teaching because yielding to God always comes first toward winning any spiritual battle. Only He can empower His people in our struggle to resist Satan (James 4:7).

I need God’s anointing. The enemy is strong and relentless. I cannot keep my own mind from drifting off into false notions or other kinds of sin. “It is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” (2 Corinthians 1:21–22)

In all things, the Lord is my Shepherd. He anoints my head with the oil of the Holy Spirit and because of Him, my cup overflows with gratitude and joy!

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