"Now it came to pass... that, Jesus also
having been baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit
descended in a bodily form, as a dove, upon Him." Luke 3:21-22.
"...Ye shall receive power, when the Holy Spirit is come upon you." Acts
"And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit." Acts 1:6-8.
"And ye have an anointing from the Holy One, and ye know all things ... The
anointing which ye received of Him abides in you." 1 John 2:20,27.
The most important thing in the believer's life
is to learn Christ. "In Him dwells all the fulness of the
Godhead bodily." That fulness is for us, for: "In Him we are made full."
And because Christ, as our fulness, is in the glory, therefore Paul writes to
the Ephesians: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who
has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places." That
means we are blessed with every spiritual blessing in our Lord Jesus
Christ in the heavenlies. That implies that our relationship with the Lord Jesus
must be a heavenly relationship. Only as we come into a heavenly union with
Christ can we partake of these heavenly blessings.
Now we have already seen that there has to be a
wilderness first in our lives before we can experimentally know the
all-sufficiency of Christ for us. Israel's life in the wilderness meant a
complete separation from the old nature, and an utter dependence upon resources
outside of this earth. The wilderness in itself provided nothing for them, and
all their natural capacities were of no use in such a place. But these
conditions were just given to make the wilderness a place of revelation where
they had to learn Christ, in a special way, as their sufficiency. Christ is the
living Bread which came down from heaven. He is the Water of Life. The "spiritual
rock that followed them" was Christ.
Let us therefore emphasise again that in
order to know Jesus Christ in fulness we have to come to the place where the
world and all its natural resources cannot help us, and have to be completely
We have pointed out that Jesus Christ Himself
accepted that position, that He voluntarily chose to live on a faith-basis. He
chose to depend entirely on His Father. He could do absolutely nothing without
Him; He had nothing Himself but was drawing everything from the Father. That is
the more negative side of our meditation. Now let us turn to the positive side.
What is the basis of a life lived in a heavenly
union with Christ, where all the resources have to be of a heavenly nature? The
answer is: That basis is the Holy Spirit.
When Israel was separated from Egypt, and
brought out into the wilderness, God gave them the pillar of cloud by day, and
the pillar of fire by night. That cloud is a type of the Holy Spirit. The forty
years in the wilderness typify that Israel's life became entirely governed by
the Holy Spirit. When we come to the Lord Jesus we see the reality of this, and
how true it was in His case. When He stepped out into public life, God separated
Him for His special ministry. He came under the anointing of the Holy Spirit
(Luke 3:22). From that moment His whole life was governed by the Holy Spirit
If we want to live a heavenly life in the
wilderness, the Holy Spirit is essential. He is given for that very purpose.
Through the Holy Spirit the same resources are at our disposal upon which
Christ, in the days of His flesh, had been living. It is very important to
recognise the fact that our Lord Jesus Christ voluntarily accepted our position,
and was fashioned like a man, taking the place of one who is dependent on God
for everything. If we do that, we shall rejoice to live a life which is governed
by the Holy Spirit, a life through which our Lord Jesus Christ shall be
glorified, even as He, living in the Father, glorified the Father. This then is
our relationship with Christ. The basis of a heavenly life is the Holy Spirit.
The Lord Jesus lived His life in the Holy Spirit. By that Spirit He was doing
His work. He moved continually, in all His ways, as governed by the Holy Spirit.
He refused to move or act under the influence of man, or be pressed by
circumstances. He only did that which the Holy Spirit witnessed in Him. The
secret of His triumphant life was the government of the Holy Spirit.
Now what is true of the Lord Jesus has to be
true for us. It is the same Spirit which is anointing us. We have come to see
that this world is a wilderness. We are called to let go our natural resources,
and to live a life entirely out from God, in direct communication with Him. In
the things of God we cannot use natural resources. Neither the world nor we in
ourselves can produce anything for God. But let us place the emphasis upon the
positive side: the Spirit of Anointing makes everything possible. The Holy
Spirit, the Anointing which we have received, brings us into oneness with
Christ. Just as Christ was one with the Father by the Spirit, so we are made one
with Christ by the same Spirit. This is a wonderful union! It means that the
Lord Himself is doing the work in us in order to work it out through us.
What we want to say is, that God Himself will
do His work. It cannot be done through our trying to do it. To ask Him to help
us to do His work is a great mistake. If it is the Lord's work, then it is HE
who is doing it. He never gives His own work into our hands. The Lord does not
give His work to you or to me. We are but His employees, like the workman who
uses his tools. A tool never thinks out what it should do. It simply yields to
the hand of its master. He has the plan. He has the skill and the strength, and
the tool is only expressing what is in the mind of the workman. The
responsibility lies with HIM. The tool is only allowed to do what the master
wants to do through his instrument. Imagine an instrument getting up in the
morning determined to do this or that, hoping the master would help it. This is
not the right attitude. Let us think of the tool which takes this attitude and
says: "Now Master, you know what you will do. You have the plan. You know how
you will work, and at what time you will do it. I am here at your disposal. I am
willing to serve you in any way you please. I am altogether consecrated to you
and your purpose. I look to you concerning the work which lies before us. You
must be the wisdom, the strength and the power of endurance behind me. If I
should become blunt you can sharpen me again. Everything depends upon you, but I
am one with you."
This is a very simple illustration of the
truth. That was exactly the relationship of the Lord Jesus with His Father. He
said: "My Father works even until now, and I work." He only worked
because His Father worked. He also said: "The works which the Father has
given me... the same works I do." The link between Him and the Father was
the Holy Spirit. He brought about that marvellous oneness. Now we are under the
same anointing. That anointing is the guarantee for meeting every need to which
we are called, and to do it at the right time.
When we are under the anointing, which brings
us into oneness with our Lord Jesus Christ in the heavenlies, there is no need
to get into a state of anxiety concerning 'our works'. The Holy Spirit will come
in and show us where we have to act as under the Lord's commission, and where we
have to stand back and wait - in spite of apparent need and pressure which comes
upon us - because the Lord's time has not yet come to meet that need.
"The anointing teaches you concerning all
things." Has this not been true many a time in our lives? For instance, a
difficult situation arises, a problem has to be solved, and we are asked to meet
that need. Now we get worked up into a state of anxiety, but all our thinking
and planning is getting us nowhere. We cannot see what we should do; we have no
light. But when we have handed it over to the Lord, when we put our confidence
in Him, trusting Christ to be our wisdom and strength, the light comes, and we
are able to give the needed counsel, and touch the vital points as we, in
ourselves, would never be able to do. It just comes by revelation. The
experience is true: "In that hour it shall be told you what to speak."
The Holy Spirit is given us that we may, through Him, continually stand in
unbroken and direct fellowship with our Lord in heaven. Immediately we begin to
work at things with our mind, and count upon our resources, or look at
circumstances, we take upon us a responsibility which is beyond us, and which we
cannot meet. The result is that we become anxious, worried and fretful. We begin
to ask other people to tell us what to do. We look round for some help from
outside, and thus enter more and more into the realm of the natural world which,
we know, cannot help us in heavenly things. But if we abide under the anointing,
we have the certainty that all we have to do is but a part of a completed
How often attempts were made upon the life of
the Lord Jesus to destroy it. His life was beset with danger. He had hardly
stepped out into public ministry, and we see His murderers at work. We are told
that such an attempt was made when He went into the synagogue of Nazareth. The
people were offended by His words and led Him to the brow of the hill of their
town to cast Him over. But He went right through their midst out of their hands,
and their attempt failed. He could not be destroyed even one day before His time
because of the anointing. God had ordered His life to the very "hour". "No
one takes my life from me, but I lay it down of myself". What is anointed
and abiding under the anointing will complete the work. We too can be assured to
complete the work to which God has called us in life, and for which He has
appointed us in Christ. "We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for
good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them." What a
mighty comfort to know that it is the anointing, which takes the full
responsibility for the completion of our life! So we just have to abide under
The book of the Acts is a wonderful
demonstration of this very thing. Before the Lord left His disciples He gave
them this commission: "Go ye into all the world...". But He added: "Tarry
ye in the city, until ye be clothed with power from on high." When the
Spirit of Anointing came upon them on the day of Pentecost, they had no desire
to hold a committee meeting and say: "Now we must organise our work. We must
arrange to collect money, and make plans how to run this thing well. It will be
necessary to think of all the emergencies which may arise." No, the apostles
were delivered from all this. The anointing which they had received took charge
of it all. They did not have to think it out. They went to fulfil their
commission with great joy, and let the Holy Spirit see to all the emergencies.
He took the full responsibility for them. All they had to do was just to yield
in complete obedience to Him.
When the church came into being they did not
have to find fresh members for the church. They did not come together to
organise this or that, in order to build the church. The Holy Spirit took full
charge. We read: "The LORD added to them day by day those that were saved."
But perhaps the other statement was even more important; the Holy Spirit did not
allow just anyone to join them. We read: "But of the rest durst no man join
himself to them." It is sometimes easier to bring people into the assembly -
outwardly - than to get them out again. But for that too the Holy Spirit took
full responsibility. That is an important factor. It is a grand position to be
in when, for all matters concerning the church and our calling, the Holy Spirit
is taking the responsibility.
But let us not forget that such a position does
provoke the enemy. Immediately after the anointing the Lord met the enemy in the
wilderness. The adversary does not care much where the anointing is not working.
But if you and I come under the anointing, if the Holy Spirit is making Christ
in the glory the Christ which is "the hope of glory" in us, we shall
become the object of the enemy's hatred. If one can say of believers that they
are under the Anointing, truly they shall be hated of the devil. He will do all
that is in his power to destroy such instruments of God. But the anointing also
secures the victory. The Holy Spirit gives us the victory.
But don't forget that our natural strength and
the power of the Holy Spirit can never go together. It is absolutely essential
that the natural man is ruled out. Only when we know our own weakness shall we
be strong. Think of the apostle Paul when he said: "When I am weak then am I
strong." So our natural wisdom and God's wisdom cannot go together.
Therefore the wilderness is needed, and we have to say 'yes' to God's dealings
with us. We have to be willing to forsake our self-life and let go of everything
in order to come to the fulness of Christ. The fulness of the Holy Spirit is the
birthright of every child of God. He brings us into a heavenly union with our
exalted Head. In Him the heavenly resources are available for us, because God
has made our Lord Jesus Christ to be our fulness. Where the Anointing abides it
will be true again and again that: "God has blessed us with every spiritual
blessing in the heavenly places in Christ."
"Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding
abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in
us, unto Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus unto all generations
for ever and ever."