What is the meaning of the anointing of the Holy Spirit? It is nothing less and nothing other than the Holy Spirit taking His place as absolute Lord. The anointing carries with it the absolute Lordship of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit as Lord. That means that all other lordships have been deposed and set aside: the lordship of our own lives, the lordship of our own minds, our own wills, our own desires, the lordship of others. The lordship of every interest and every influence is regarded as having given place to the undivided and unreserved Lordship of the Holy Spirit, and the anointing can never be known, enjoyed, unless that has taken place.
That is why the Lord Jesus went down into Jordan's waters, into death and burial, in type, taking the place of man in representation, from that moment not to be under the government of His own life in any respect as He worked out the will of God, but to be wholly and utterly subject to the Spirit of God in every detail. Jordan's grave set forth the setting aside of every independent lordship - every other lordship, every other influence - and if you will read the spiritual life of Christ in the Gospels, you will see that it was to that position that He was every moment adhering. Many and powerful were the influences that were brought to bear upon Him to affect Him and govern His movements. Sometimes it was the full force of Satan's open assault, to the effect that it was necessary that He should do certain things for His cause, or for His very continuation in life physically. Sometimes it was Satan clothing himself with the arguments and persuasions of beloved associates in their seeking to hold Him back from certain courses or to influence Him to prolong His life by sparing Himself certain sufferings. In various ways influences were brought to bear upon Him from all directions, and many of the counsels were seemingly so wise and good.
For example, with regard to His going up to the feast, it was urged, in effect: It is the thing that everybody is doing; if you do not go up you will prejudice your cause. If you really want to further this cause, you must fall into line with the accepted thing religiously, and you only stand to lose if you do not do that; you will curtail your influence, you will narrow your sphere of usefulness. And what an appeal that is if you have something very much at heart, some cause for God at heart, the success of which is of the greatest importance.
Such then were the influences that were beating upon Him. But whether it were Satan coming in all the directness of his cunning, his wit, his insinuation, or whether it be through beloved and most intimate disciples and associates, whatever the kind of argument, you cannot cause that Man to deflect a hair's-breadth from His principle. ''I am under the anointing; I am committed to the absolute sovereignty of the Holy Spirit, and I cannot move, whatever it costs. Cost it My life, cost it My influence, cost it My reputation, cost it everything that I hold dear, I cannot move unless I know from the Holy Spirit that that is God's mind and not another mind - God's will and not another will - that this thing comes from God.''
Thus He put back everything until He knew in His spirit what the Spirit of God witnessed. He lived up to this law, this principle, of the absolute authority, government, lordship of the anointing, and it was for that that the anointing had come. That is the meaning of the anointing. Do you ask for the anointing of the Holy Spirit? Why do you ask for the anointing of the Holy Spirit? Is the anointing something that you crave? To what end? That you may be used, may have power, may have influence, may be able to do a lot of wonderful things? Beloved, the first and pre-eminent thing the anointing means is that we can do nothing but what the anointing teaches and leads to do. The anointing takes everything out of our hands. The anointing takes charge of the reputation. The anointing takes charge of the very purpose of God. The anointing takes complete control of everything and all is from that moment in the hands of the Holy Spirit, and we must remember that if we are going to learn Christ, that learning Christ is by the Holy Spirit's dealing with us; and that means that we have to go exactly the same way as Christ went in principle and in law.
An extract from the book "The School of Christ", Chapter 7. First published in "A Witness and A Testimony" magazine, May-Jun 1943, Vol 21-3.