Character, Anointing, Purity and Power: Four very separate words, but those four words are more connected than most people realized.
Character and anointing for example are never a matter of OR but always a matter of AND. Anointing and character must exist together as two equal forces in our lives.
To be a Christian means to be like the Christ, or the Anointed One, and that means we must be filled with the Spirit.
But being filled with the Spirit does not excuse us from the need of developing our character and traits that demonstrate Christ in us. To be filled with the Spirit requires us to be Christlike, meaning that our attitudes, motives, words and deeds must be pure.
If we do not live our lives in a way that outlines the description of a Spirit-filled life, we are a contradiction. If we have character but no passion for God, we are merely good, moral citizens. And though a good, moral life is admorable, it is not enough.
A person of character, virtue and dignity must also be a Spirit filled person overflowing with passion for God; these two aspects go hand-in-hand and, like a marriage, become unified into one person and inseperable.
True spirituality is not proven when we quote our favorite scriptures from the Bible, pray eloquently, lay hands on the sick or cast out demons. Rather, it is demonstrated by the way we treat one another. It is further proven by the love, honor, respect and dignity we approach every relationship with.
The anointing does not remove personality, emotions or free will, nor does it guarantee that we will do or say the right thing in the right way. Remember Peter, who, moments after being commended for recognizing Jesus as the Christ, was rebuked for not being mindful of the things of God.
Jesus said to him: “‘Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men'” (Matt. 16:23, NKJV). As powerful as it is, the anointing will not blindly lead us to always do or say the right thing; neither will it replace the need for character.
D.L. Moody used to say that “character is what you are in the dark” when there is no one looking, no one listening. It is the thought, the desire, the intention that counts in the sight of God. We should not present a different personality in public than we do in private; there should be consistency between who we are and who we appear to be.
Character is the measure of our Christ-likeness.
There is no denying the need for more of the anointing in our lives, but we also need character. Some who desire a deep walk with God in the realms of the anointing will invest much time and effort in reading books. I believe they would do well to invest equal time in the development of their character.
As the many examples of gifted Christians around us make clear, being anointed does not guarantee maturity or character. We can have power without the traits listed above–but in the end this one-sidedness will lead to our demise.
On the other hand, it’s important to remember that we all have growing up to do; none of us has arrived or is fully developed and conformed to the image of Jesus. We are Christians under construction–and making a mistake or acting immaturely in a particular instance does not mean we lack character.
We also have to keep in mind that character does not develop overnight but is a lifelong process of becoming more and more like Jesus. It is developed in the crucible of life, formed through trial and conflict and through Spirit-led introspection. As we honestly evaluate ourselves, recognizing our flaws and taking the necessary steps to overcome them, we are certain to more closely walk the talk.
The Anointing does not carry character but character is the vessel that carries the Anointing. Are there holes or cracks on the cup of your Character? The scripture clearly says that we cannot pour New Wine into old wineskins. Because the new wine will cause the wineskins to crack. The new wineskin shows character. The new wineskin is the dried up skin of a freshly dead animal. Is there fresh death in your life? Have you visited the Altar recently? Have you died to that pride and selfishness lately? Romans 12:1 says “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God- this is your spiritual act of worship”. Fresh death is vitally important in carrying the fresh wine of the Holy Spirit.
Just as character and anointing are intertwined, purity and power are equally yoked.
Here is a recent quote from an interview with Bill Johnson:
“It is not okay for me to be a nice guy and to walk uprightly, but not have power. I ask our folks what is more important: to not quench the Holy Spirit or to not grieve the Holy Spirit. Quenching is about power, and grieving is about purity. You can’t choose one over the other, and I am so tired of the people who don’t have character but attempt to walk in power. It’s nauseating to me, but I also wish we were as offended over the people who walk in character but don’t walk in power.”
It is so true how connected those two truths are. Jesus walked in extreme purity which enabled Him to walk in extreme power. In our times today we try to separate them.
Purity paves the way for power and every true revivalist, man or woman of God, has walked in great purity and enabled them to walk in great power.
Think about the ways you are growing in these areas. Are you experiencing any area of blockage or hindrance in anointing and power? If so, it is probably time to work on character and purity. God doesn’t promote power and He doesn’t promote anointing. He uses anointing and power to promote character and purity, because a person has made himself/herself a vessel for His glory!