Increase of the Anointing
by Todd Bentley
Intimacy! Although talk about intimacy seems to be on the tip of almost everyone’s tongue lately, nevertheless, I don’t want that to stop me today from discussing this important subject with you. No way; since intimacy with God is the connection between us and anything characterizing the kingdom of God manifesting through us that has eternal weight and glory!
The fact is when we’re connected to God by intimate relationship, when we’re His friend, not only does God’s anointing naturally flow through us, it increases. And that’s what I want to discuss with you in this teaching series—how to walk in the increase of the anointing. Walking in the anointing and the increase is meant for everyone to experience. What’s more, it should be natural or normal.
So let’s begin, first, by discovering the true state of our hearts because that will lead us to a key building-block that will help us walk in the anointing and the increase of the anointing.
ARE WE REALLY INTIMATE WITH GOD?
Did you know that sometimes there’s a conflict between our hearts [what we think], and our actions? Often our hearts seem to say one thing, while our actions indicate something quite different. Take the Shulammite Bride in Song of Songs, for instance. Surprisingly, when the love of her life came knocking it was actually very inconvenient for her to welcome him by getting up and out of bed to open the door! Her excuse was that she was falling asleep after getting all ready for bed—“I have taken off my robe; how can I put it on again? I have washed my feet; how can I defile them?” (So. 5:3).
Look. How could that be? After all, he was her beloved! On the surface, her attitude was—“I sleep, but my heart is awake; it is the voice of my beloved!” (So. 5:2a). But there was something deeper that needed to be revealed. So the bride’s heart was tested! And in that testing process she actually ended up grieving the one she loved by not responding to him the way an on-fire lover would (5:3). Her lack of insight and attention drove him away immediately. How sad.
Now, let’s consider her unresponsiveness and also take a look at ourselves. Even though we don’t like to think about it, the bride’s apathy towards her beloved is like a mirror that reflects how we behave sometimes! For example, we lie down at night sensing the still small voice of God, our beloved—“Get your Bible because I want to speak with you. I want to be intimate with you.” But instead, all too often, we roll over and go to sleep. Then in the morning we wonder why it’s so hard to enter into His presence!
So let’s be honest; are we really intimate with God? Is He truly our friend? Are we only hungry for Him? I ask because true intimacy with God is a key building block, like a corner stone, for walking in the anointing and the increase.
FRIENDSHIP WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT IS PRICELESS
Many of you know already that the key to anything that God has given me has come out of hunger for Him and hunger for the anointing (because I want to receive and reflect all that He has for me so that I’m fully equipped to serve Him). Therefore, I can’t help but talk about the importance of having a hunger for God and for the things of God in almost every teaching I do. I hope you never get sick of hearing this message!
Now having said all that, how many of you are saying, “I want more of the anointing?” That’s good because we need the anointing and we need to trust and depend on the presence and power of the Holy Spirit for everything. We don’t want to do anything of our own self. So get a desperate hunger for God, His person and His presence because that’s the key to the power of God and the anointing. Hunger is a major building block, too!
Today, at times, when the Holy Spirit comes and visits me and speaks to me, it’s like a living person; the presence of a living person in the room, as I pray. He’s become very intimate. He’s become very close to me. We have an intimate bond together. Our friendship is priceless. In fact, friendship with God is another essential building block to walking in the anointing and the increase. But years ago, although I was baptized in the Holy Ghost, speaking in tongues, and moving in the gifts of the Spirit, I never knew the Holy Spirit as a personal friend. I never knew the presence of the Holy Spirit and He was never real to me like He is now.
But back then (and today) I was hungry and I was on a journey to know Him and the power of His resurrection; to be transformed or conformed into His image. “Jesus, I want to be more like you!” I had a passion in my heart for His presence and the power of God. I remember in the first couple of months that I was saved, I said, “God I want the kind of anointing that is on Benny Hinn’s life, and the kind of anointing for miracles that was on Kathryn Kuhlman’s ministry. I want the kind of anointing that was on the revivalists of old, those men and women who turned whole nations upside down.”
The Lord spoke to me specifically in the beginning and He said, “Todd I can give you any anointing that I have ever given to any man or woman or ministry if you can do what they did to get what they got.” So I started to study what they did to get what they got! I read “Good Morning Holy Spirit” (by Benny Hinn), listened to healing stories of Kathryn Kuhlman, and studied the lives of other great saints. Each saint was a friend of the Holy Spirit and what blew me away too, was that in each of their lives there was a thriving prayer life. Hey! Here are two more significant building-blocks—study and prayer.
Take Evan Roberts for instance. Before God used him to spark the Welsh Revival and turn a nation and literally hundreds of thousands of youth to Jesus, God touched him to pray. Look at this. Prior to that revival, prior to God using that great revivalist, the Holy Spirit began to visit him and wake him up at 1 a.m. The Spirit of grace and supplication and the Spirit of prayer would come upon him and he would pray until 4 or 5 a.m. Later he would get up about 9 in the morning and pray until 3 p.m. This went on for three months, eight hours a day—visitation in the night season—prior to God releasing that mighty revival.
Also as I studied the lives of other men and women that God anointed for ministry, I noticed that an anointing called increase was upon them. There was something of God’s power upon those men and women that I didn’t see upon a whole lot of men and women today, so I began to hunger for an increase. I wanted more of the anointing.
GET A HOLY JEALOUSY FOR WHAT THE HISTORY MAKERS HAD!
Consequently, God began to shape my mindset and I thought: If Evan Roberts prayed eight hours a day, I’ll pray 16 hours. I purposed within my heart whatever it was going to cost me I was going pay, in order to get the anointing of God’s Spirit on my life. “Whatever the cost! Whatever the price! I will give my life for the power of God! Holy Spirit fill me! Holy Spirit anoint me! Holy Spirit, whatever it costs me!”
So there was a journey whereby I began to press in and pursue the increase of the anointing. I remember in the beginning as I prayed for that anointing that I’d be checking my watch and after only about 30 minutes I was running out of things to pray about. However, I purposed that the next day I was going to press in to have fellowship and communion with the Holy Spirit; just love Him, embrace Him and His presence, for 45 minutes. But it felt like it was more like six hours. So I purposed in my heart that the next day I was going to take a little bit more ground in the Spirit and that I was going to get a breakthrough. Then communion with the Holy Spirit went to an hour and a half.
On a daily basis I set aside time and I purposed in my heart to have an encounter and that I would pursue, I would seek, I would search for the Lord with all my heart. I wanted an increase of the anointing. I wanted the power of God upon my life and ministry.
It didn’t matter that I wasn’t in the ministry at that time and I’d just been saved a few months. What mattered was I had become jealous with a holy jealousy for the kind of anointing of God’s Spirit that rested upon other men and women that God anointed to shake nations throughout history. Listen! Holy jealousy is a vital building block, as well, if you long to walk in the anointing and the increase.
So I purposed in my heart to set aside everything else but having an encounter with the Holy Spirit. Soon one hour with the Holy Spirit turned into three hours, and three hours turned into five hours, and five hours turned into seven hours, and seven hours turned into ten hours, and ten hours turned into 12 hours. To this day I still take days where I will lock myself away for hours with the Lord. We need a lifestyle of maintaining relationship and devotions. But we also need the increase! So let’s look at a little metaphor.
You know, by maintaining our relationship with Jesus, we could be like a driver maintaining the fuel levels in his car! But we need to understand that when the Lord gives us a vehicle, if all we ever do is keep it topped up with gas, that’s like praying an hour or two everyday, keeping devotions, reading the Scriptures—all the things that you need to do as a Christian, sometimes as a Christian duty. But really, all we’re doing is maintaining, and we’re not increasing. We’re not actually, maintaining, sustaining and increasing the level of what God is doing in our life and ministry. We are not hitting that next level.
Listen! Every once in a while we need to get at the motor and give it a complete overhaul! Deal with the ‘heart’ of the car, the engine! An overhaul isn’t like the usual ‘just keeping the vehicle full of gas and running.’ After an overhaul we say, “This feels like the way the car was when it was running at its best. I remember when it was ‘hot’ back then.” Without an occasional overhaul your vehicle will be running pretty rough and you’ll probably say, “I don’t know what happened. It used to be a good vehicle!” In other words, “I don’t know; I’m still praying one or two hours a day but I’ve lost what sparked it all. I’ve lost what birthed it; that extended time in God’s presence.”
Yet, it’s not just about the hours (that extended time). It’s more about the heart. It’s about the hunger. It’s about the pursuit of His presence. It’s as if God wants to give us an ‘overhaul.’ He wants us to maintain well, but at the same time increase the level of the anointing.
So in this teaching series let’s press in and get into more of the blazing journey that God takes us through so that we can walk in the anointing and the increase. I say ‘blazing journey’ because I believe that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that the disciples (and others) received on the day of Pentecost is for us too, if we’re going to walk in the power of God and the increase of the anointing. We need to blaze with the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire—a huge building-block!
THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AND FIRE IS COMING AGAIN!
John the Baptist had revelation. He spent lots of time in God’s presence and he knew what was coming—the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire! John said, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” Matt. 3:11).
By studying the first few chapters in the Book of Acts you’ll see that before revival hit Jerusalem, Pentecost happened; that great day when God poured out the Holy Spirit on about 120 believers who pressed in for their breakthrough in the Upper Room. The Holy Spirit filled that Upper Room and one Bible translation likened it to a sudden “rushing of a violent tempest blast.” Then fire, resembling tongues, settled on each person! Wow!
Right away they were filled with the Holy Spirit and power, just like Jesus said would happen—“Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). After the Promise came upon them, revival hit the city of Jerusalem when Peter began to boldly declare God’s message—“Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them” (Acts 2:41). All those who received Peter’s word in their hearts got saved and they probably returned to their respective cities on fire for God.
Listen! If we want to see revival and if we want to walk in the anointing (and see the increase of that anointing), then we need to press in just like the disciples did in that Upper Room. We need to do what they did to get what they got! Listen!! I can’t help but talk about the importance of doing what those disciples did, just like I can’t help but talk about the importance of having a hunger for God!!
In the Book of Acts you will see how they maintained and sustained the revival by continually pressing into the things of God. They said, “God we are not going to let up!” Because they didn’t let up God gave them another level, and then they didn’t let up again and God gave them another level, and they didn’t let up and God gave them another level. More and more!
There was an increase of the momentum of the revival that was taking place in the New Testament Church. But first they pressed in to receive the Promise of the Father—the Holy Spirit—in the Upper Room. Now watch this. Then they had favor and angelic help; they overcame intimidation and persecution; demonstrated miracles, signs and wonders; walked in great power and great grace; sparked tremendous fear of the Lord; and they saw thousands through to salvation! TALK ABOUT INCREASE! (See Acts 1—6.)
Friends, we need to be set ablaze in the Holy Ghost and to burn continually just like the disciples and those New Testament believers!
BE A BURNING, SHINING LAMP!
Jesus said, “Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning” (Luke 12:35). How many of you want to be a burning, shining lamp? If that’s you, here’s the key. The key to be the burning and the fire is the oil, pure oil—Exodus 27:20, 21:
“And you shall command the children of Israel that they bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to cause the lamp to burn continually. In the tabernacle of meeting, outside the veil which is before the Testimony, Aaron and his sons shall tend it from evening until morning before the LORD. It shall be a statute forever to their generations on behalf of the children of Israel.”
I’m talking about the Holy Ghost here, the anointing; and the key here is the oil. And where did Aaron and his sons tend the oil? It was in the tabernacle of meeting – which is a prophetic picture of being in the presence of God from evening until morning; not letting up.
Now let’s look at Exodus 30:8 to get some insight into what’s going to help us light the fire as well as maintain and sustain the blaze and bring the increase of the anointing— “And when Aaron lights the lamps at twilight, he shall burn incense on it, a perpetual incense before the LORD throughout your generations.”
Here we see Aaron at the tabernacle of the meeting in the presence of God in prayer burning incense. What does the incense represent? It symbolizes prayer and the incense was ‘perpetual incense.’ Perpetual means lasting forever or for a long time; continuing without interruption; constant [Webster’s New World Dictionary]. In the context of this definition, the anointing of God’s Spirit comes as you take care of your ‘lamp’ and as you pray continually. Without taking care in prayer, your lamp will go out. Continual prayer will keep the oil and the fire! That’s what’s going to keep the light of the Holy Ghost and revelation. Stoking the fire by prayer is yet another big building-block!