What does it mean to walk in God’s anointing? We often describe a song or a message as being anointed. Or we identify someone accomplishing great things for God as anointed by God. But don’t we all want to walk out our lives with a sense of His calling and anointing?

It is easy to think about the anointing and focus only on the outward effects of it. King David was a famously anointed man of God and his exploits are easy to recall. Shortly after he was anointed by the prophet Samuel, we see him being used mightily by God to deliver Saul from demonic oppression and take down the dreaded giant Goliath. However, the Lord made it clear in David’s life that walking in the anointing was not just about outward exploits but the internal realities not readily observable before the eyes of men. When David was anointed by Samuel, the Lord laid a foundation for the rest of David’s life by grounding him in two key realities. 

The first reality for David was that God had called David for Himself. When God told Samuel to go to Jesse’s house He told him that He was sending him there because He had provided for Himself a king (1 Samuel 16:1). God was not just personally selecting David but setting him apart for Himself. David would go on to declare this truth in Psalm 4:3“The Lord has set the godly apart for himself.” Before David was the people’s king he was God’s. To walk in the anointing successfully, we must realize that when God anoints us He is calling us first and foremost to Himself. When this is absent or neglected the anointing can become an avenue for us to secure the favor of people. This was painfully displayed in the life of David’s predecessor Saul, who was more concerned with keeping his status as king than he was with obeying God.

The second core reality for David was that the Lord was looking at David’s heart. When the Lord sent Samuel to Jesse’s house, Samuel took one look at Eliab, Jesse’s oldest son, and assumed he had found the future king. But Samuel, the prophet whose prophetic track record was impeccable, was wrong! He missed it! The Lord could have told Samuel to go anoint Jesse’s son David as king, but instead He let this dramatic scene unfold for the sake of establishing this foundational truth: “the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”(1 Samuel 16:7)

God’s choice of David had nothing to do with his outward appearance or qualifications based on man’s standards. God saw in David’s heart the very thing He was looking for: a heart that was loyal to Him in secret. This would make David a successful king and guard him from the snare of the fear of man. God wanted David to know right from the beginning of his ministry that He was looking at his heart and was pleased with what He saw. If we know that God sees us, we will care much less if others see us.

Jesus is the ultimate example of these realities. He spent 30 years of His earthly life hidden before the eyes of men but set apart for God. The Father’s testimony over Jesus at the end of this season was that he was well pleased with Him (Luke 3:22). Jesus spent 30 years ministering to God in secret and 3 years ministering to people. That’s quite a ratio—30/3. How often do we flip this ratio and make ministry to people our primary thing? Realizing that our calling is first and foremost to God frees us from being a slave to the opinions of man and gives us courage to obey God when it is not the popular thing to do. This in turn makes us trustworthy vessels with God’s power and helps us to walk in the anointing that God intended for us.

If you feel that the Lord has anointed you for a specific ministry, the most important thing you can do is cultivate a heart that is loyal to Him in secret. At IHOPU, our students build a foundation for the rest of their lives by spending hours seeking the Lord in prayer, studying the Word, and becoming rooted in the love of God—all while engaging in ministry with their fellow students.

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Colin McNulty

District Pastor at Forerunner Church, IHOPU Faculty

Colin and his wife, Sarah, are full time intercessory missionaries at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. Colin, a graduate of IHOPU, served for 7 years as a worship team coach at IHOPU’s Forerunner School of Worship. Now he serves as a District Pastor Forerunner Church and teaches on the Life of David at IHOPU. From the context of day and night worship and prayer, Colin and Sarah have a passion to see mature and confident disciples of Christ raised up to serve Jesus and people from a life rooted in a lifestyle of prayer. They have been serving at the house of prayer since 2007 and live in Kansas City, Missouri with their four children.

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