Anointing vs. Gifting

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What does it mean to be anointed? Last year, at WorshipU On Campus, A21 founder Christine Caine from Hillsong Church shared a powerful message with us about being developed by God in the secret place.


Whether you’re an artist, creative, musician, dreamer, entrepreneur, inventor, teacher—whatever it is you do, we all long for someone to discover our talent and hear our ideas. We are often waiting for someone to hear us, hire us, promote us, or sign us. Or, we are trying to find ways to promote ourselves, because we feel the pressure to be important and valuable to the world.

If you’ve ever taken a photo with a film camera, you know it can be unsettling when you’re not sure what the outcome will be. Camera film is created to be developed in the dark and to go through a multi-step process of soaking in different chemicals before we ever know what the photo will look like. During the development stage, if someone were to open the door of the darkroom and turn on the light, the film would be ruined instantly, and we would never see what the photo actually was.

In our world of camera phones, we can know instantly what a photo looks like, and post it on social media. As soon as we upload that photo, someone across the world has instant access into our lives. We’ve eliminated the waiting process.

“You don’t need to be discovered, you need to be developed, conformed, and transformed into the image of Jesus Christ.” – Christine Caine

God has already discovered you—He created you. He wants to take us into the darkroom and form His image inside of us in the secret place, where no one can see. If we don’t understand this process of development, we will confuse it with missing out. We start to get afraid that what we have to bring will go to waste, and no one will ever appreciate or see it.

“We have a generation that is running into the darkroom, opening the door, exposing the image of Christ being formed inside of us and wondering why we have nothing to give to the world around us.” – Christine Caine

We live in a culture where the spotlight is always on us. If the world won’t put the spotlight on us, we will put the spotlight on ourselves and upload it to the world. If the spotlight that is on you is greater than the light that is inside of you, it will destroy you.

“If you live by the praises of men, you will die by their criticism.” – Bill Johnson

In our day and age, we have access to an abundance of sermons, worship music, Christian radio, Christian TV, and Christian podcasts. Why are there still so many people still under spiritual bondage and locked in chains? How can people walk into the church and walk out the same way they came in?

“A gift will fill a room, entertain a crowd, and stir people up. But the anointing breaks yokes, chains, and bondages.” – Christine Caine

Maybe you have the gifts and talents, but what does it take to become anointed as a leader, worship leader, creative, or follower of Christ? In the Bible, when someone was anointed as king by a prophet, olive oil was rubbed on the head as a symbol of being set apart by God for service. Olive oil is made by crushing and pressing olives so that oil comes out. In the same way, part of our development in the darkroom with God consists of crushing. When we go through hard situations and seasons, a crushing happens. In the process of crushing we come out with a testimony and story to give to the world—our oil. The same concept occurs when making new wine—grapes have to be crushed.

Without that development and crushing process that comes from God, our gifts are just gifts. They have no power, no anointing. If we take our gifts and talents into the darkroom with God and allow Him to crush us, He will form His image inside of us.

“If we have a generation that would rather be paraded than crushed, we will have a lot of gifted people but not anointed people.” – Christine Caine

In 1 Samuel 16, David was anointed as the king of Israel when he was just a young boy tending sheep. Several years go by, and David doesn’t actually take the throne as king until age 30. In between those two events, David served food to the soldiers of the Israelite army, served King Saul by playing his harp, became a soldier, and then commander of armies. During his time as a commander, Saul tried to kill David several times, forcing David to escape for his life and live in another country for several years.

Imagine if David became king immediately after being anointed when he was a young boy. He would have no experience to offer and didn’t know anything about the way a kingdom works. Through serving Saul and being a part of the Israelite army, David learned the ways of Israel’s kingdom and war strategy. David also went through a season of crushing as Saul was hunting him down and trying to kill him. Sometimes he hid in caves or in the mountains, not sure if he would live or die. He even had a chance to kill Saul but spared his life.

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5

How can we give the world hope from the stage, if we haven’t had a reason to need hope? Suffering gives us an opportunity to lean into God and trust Him to come through for us. It produces endurance, character, and hope—fruits that others can come and feast on when they are suffering.

The fruits that grow as a result of trusting the Lord through pain and suffering are the essential ingredients we need to sustain the anointing that God gives us. So when we get on stage, it won’t just be us and our gifts, but the character, endurance, and hope to back it up, paired with the anointing that breaks chains and shifts atmospheres.

Whether you are on a stage every week or writing songs in your bedroom, your significance is still the same. We can’t measure significance based on our visibility to the world. If we are on stage, we still have to maintain a healthy balance of returning to the darkroom and allowing God to continue His work in us in the secret place before we can get back on stage. Ask God what season you’re in right now, and how you can partner with what He is doing in your life.

Watch the entire message by Christine Caine
from WorshipU On Campus