Many Christ-followers are confused about skill.
We who refer to the power of the Holy Spirit as “The Anointing,” are sometimes suspicious of skill on an almost subconscious level. The last thing we want to do is try to minister “in the flesh” rather than “in the Spirit.” In a blaring contradiction we also seek out those who are skillful to learn their secrets and hopefully to emulate their successes. Often we pay lip service to skill while leaning heavily on the anointing. Other believers have no trouble with skill while they scratch their heads over this talk about the anointing.

The truth is the Kingdom of God is seldom a place of “either/or” and is most often a wonderful land of “both/and.”

Learning from King David
Turning to our leadership guide, Holy Scriptures, we can see that each force has its place. In Asaph’s wonderful history lesson we call Psalm 78, he concludes with this statement about his boss, King David. “…David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.”

King David functioned a like potter, skillfully molding a single peaceful Kingdom out of two waring ones. He was an administrator who recognized skillful leaders, put them in charge of their part of the work, and released them to do as their skills dictated.

It wasn’t foolproof. Sometimes it worked and at other times it failed.

  • He appointed skillful musicians in charge of planning and making music for the Tabernacle he pitched on Mt. Zion and soon the whole nation was singing the praises of God.
  • He commissioned the best cart-builders in his kingdom to make a cart to transport the Ark; a dead man was the result. God had a better plan that David had to discover.

Human skill is not the enemy of the anointing of the Holy Spirit. In practical fact, they are partners.

There is a partnership between skill and anointing.
The errant theology that imagines a choice between skill and anointing springs from a poor definition of talent itself. Dictionaries refer to talent as a special, natural, innate aptitude. We often call skill talent: “He is a talented trumpet player,” and so on. What we really see is skill: talent developed into skill by discipline and preparation.

  • Talent, the ability to learn to do something, is God’s gift to us.
  • Skill, the ability to do something well, is our gift back to God.

So where does that leave us?

  • We must recognize the innate aptitudes God has given us.
  • We must find His will and get about the ongoing task of learning the skills required by that work.
  • We must always lean on the power of the Holy Spirit to do the work.

Like King David on his second and successful attempt to bring up the Ark, we can know the joy of ministering in power of the Spirit. David laid aside his kingly robes and danced before the Lord with all his might wearing the linen garment of the priests. He was dancing both in the flesh and in the Spirit.

How skillful of him!

Psalm 78:56-72 NKJV
Yet they tested and provoked the Most High God…When God heard this, He was furious, And greatly abhorred Israel, So that He forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, The tent He had placed among men, And delivered His strength into captivity, And His glory into the enemy’s hand. He also gave His people over to the sword, And was furious with His inheritance. …Then the Lord awoke as from sleep, Like a mighty man who shouts because of wine. And He beat back His enemies; He put them to a perpetual reproach. Moreover He rejected the tent of Joseph, And did not choose the tribe of Ephraim, But chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion which He loved. And He built His sanctuary like the heights, Like the earth which He has established forever. He also chose David His servant, And took him from the sheepfolds; From following the ewes that had young He brought him, To shepherd Jacob His people, And Israel His inheritance. So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, And guided them by the skillfulness of his hands.
1 Chronicles 15:22 NIV
Kenaniah the head Levite was in charge of the singing; that was his responsibility because he was skillful at it.
Psalm 33:3 NIV
Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.
Galatians 3:3-4
Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?
2 Corinthians 4:7-8 NKJV
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.

Lord Jesus, thank You for the talent You invested in me. Thank You for the wonderful grace of teachers and colleagues of similar giftings who have taught me over the years. If I have gained any skill, I offer it back to You in praise, worship, and obedience. Help me be evermore skillful in serving You. And when I have done my best, Lord, please add the power of Your Spirit to my art, to my obedience. Don’t let my music linger at the human level of entertainment or even art. Take it deeper into the spirit of those who hear me so that a spiritual work may be done. Let me live in this partnership of skill and anointing. All for You, Lord Jesus. All for You! Amen.

Anointing, Fall on Me
Words and Music: Donn Thomas

Anointing, fall on me. Anointing, fall on me.
Let the power of the Holy Ghost fall on me.

Touch my hands, my mouth and my heart.
Fill my life, Lord, every part.
Let the power of the Holy Ghost fall on me.
Anointing, fall on me.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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