After days in an internal wrestle in my spirit, and after pressing in to the Lord, seeking Him for answers of what was going on, suddenly I heard the voice of the Lord boom in my spirit as I was doing my dishes and I believe it was a question from the Father’s heart to His people.
I heard so clearly the voice of the Lord say, “Fashionable or Anointed?” The tone in which this question was communicated to me inferred, “What is it that you are seeking after or pursuing first?” What are you seeking? Or rather what is it that you want? Do you want to be Fashionable or Anointed?
Let’s take a look at the difference in the meanings of these two words from the dictionary. Fashionable: to be popular or approved of at a particular time. Anointed: smeared with oil (representing the Holy Spirit), set apart, chosen, consecrated.
Fashionable Vs. Anointed
Are we seeking to be fashionable or anointed? In today’s modern church there is a growing emphasis and pursuit on being fashionable. We see here by its definition, to be fashionable clearly displays a certain approval and acceptance by the majority. To fit in, to be acceptable, to be relatable, etc.
We could justify this pursuit and priority of desiring fashionable expressions of service or worship for the purpose of attracting the masses, or the younger generation, or to be more relatable to the world. However nowhere in scripture do I find the call of God to His people to be more acceptable, relatable or even attractive to the masses–or any particular generation for that matter–not even to the world. Rather I find in the scripture the exact opposite.
The Lord Has Called Us to Stand Out, Not Blend In
2 Corinthians 6:17 says that the Lord is calling His beloved out from among them to be separate. Who are they? According to the previous verse (16), the answer would be the world and carnality—an expression of service and worship unto the Lord that is not birthed from the Heart of the Spirit of God.
In 1 Peter 2:9, the Lord would remind you that He has called you a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people a “chosen” generation, in order that you may show forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
The word “peculiar” is defined in the dictionary as: different to what is normal or expected, strange, odd, bizarre, unfamiliar, unexpected and out of the ordinary. These definitions are completely opposite of what the word fashionable means. The Lord has not called us to fit in but to be different from the expected. He has called us to be out of the ordinary.
“Chosen” was also a word used to describe someone who was anointed, as was “Holy” (which refers to being separate). Note here in 1 Peter 2:9, it is a clear description of what His people are to look like. In all of these adjectives that describe His people, not one of them points to being popular, in vogue, or up to date. Nowhere does it describe His people to be acceptable by the masses, which is what fashionable is.
How We Reach the Masses
Don’t we have to be relatable? The Lord is calling His church back to doing things His way. Not the carnal way of man. Not by human wisdom and reasoning, efforts apart from His leading and empowering. Jesus said to go into all the world and preach the gospel, heal the sick, raise the dead, deliver those who are oppressed and make disciples (Matt 10:8, Mark 16:15, Matt 28:19). With that, Jesus also gave “the formula” in order to do these commandments.
At large, the church has felt they have had to reach the world in their own efforts and own passion and own strength. “Let’s make Christianity more appealing to the world, lets package it in a way that it will be ‘acceptable’ to draw in the crowds and the masses.” But this way of thinking and leadership in the Body of Christ has produced a people who are satisfied with the stimulation of the senses of the soul rather than a people who are on fire from their spirit.
“When you are smeared with the holy spirit, when you are anointed, you are set apart, you are chosen and consecrated, you stand out.”
Heaven’s Formula to Reach the Masses, Heal the Sick, Deliver the Oppressed, and Make Disciples
Jesus himself quoted Isaiah 61 and declared “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, He has anointed me to preach the gospel, to the poor; He has sent Me to announce release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to send forth as delivered those who are oppressed and to proclaim the accepted and acceptable year of the Lord.” This is the formula to fulfilling His commandment. It is by th Spirit of the Lord. It is by the Anointing of the Lord. It is not by might nor by power but by His Spirit.
Paul instructed the Corinthians that He would not come with fancy ways of speaking nor carnal expression to influence their soul but rather in the demonstration and power of God, so that their faith would not stand in the wisdom of men but in the power of God (1 Corinthians 2:5).
When the presence of God is burning in a fellowship, yokes are being destroyed and bondages are being removed. Seeking fashionable and relatable and acceptable and popular will not do the job of casting out devils, healing the sick and making disciples. We may see some conversions in the church, but is it causing growth into the depths of faith and the Spirit to become disciples? Or just causing a fall away from the first signs of persecution and trouble? For the evidence of a true disciple is one who must deny himself take up their cross and follows Jesus (Luke 9:23).
Seeking the fashionable over His presence (the Anointing) has produced a carnal Christianity culture, where we are finding a large percentage of Christians becoming shipwrecked in their faith. They have not been taught to dig their well deep in their faith in Christ and grow and mature in the things of the Spirit, but rather are encouraged to splash around in the shallows of entertaining, feel good, sound good, look good services.
Trading the Presence of God (Anointing) for Popularity
Seeking to please people and gain popularity (which grows our churches apart from seeking and pursuing that which pleases God’s heart and from stewarding His presence) fails our Lord and His Church. The thing to note with fashion is that it changes. But the Lord never does. Now I don’t mean methods because the Lord does do “new things” but His “new things” are not to “conform” to the masses in order to be agreeable to them but rather His “new things” are a call to the masses to come out from among them and be separate (2 Corinthians 6:17).
When you are smeared with the Holy Spirit, when you are anointed, you are set apart, you are chosen and consecrated, you stand out. As 1 Peter 2:9 states, you are peculiar, holy, chosen and royal. We are not called to blend in and be like the world but we are to stand out. Is there a cost involved in this type of pursuit? Absolutely. There is a cost for the anointing oil. Absolutely, there is a price to pay for being separate, consecrated, chosen and royal.
If you look in the natural at royal families, they can’t live like the masses. They have certain responsibilities and requirements upon them as ambassadors for their particular kingdom. They live “separate” lives. And so it is with the Lords people. We are ambassadors of Heaven.
A Religious Spirit
Whenever we prioritise anything above the presence of God, we invite a religious spirit to dictate terms. A religious spirit will always operate when man is seeking the approval and praise and acceptance of man. Pride and self-promotion are at the root of a religious spirit. Religion promotes and prioritises status and external appearance, over the presence of God.
A lot of the time we think of a religious spirit and we think of the religious conservatism of the dark ages. This however is the picture of a religious spirit the devil wants to keep branded in your mind. The devil wants you to identify religion with conservatism. But this is not what a religious spirit is.
A religious spirit is anything that hinders intimacy with the Lord and promotes external practices and man-made ideals by rules and regulations, in place of the presence of God. It seeks and insists on doing things apart from the presence of God and His empowerment. It can mask itself behind very popular, very entertaining modern, up to date, expressions of worship. The Lord is calling His people to be ones who discern by the Spirit not by mere outward expressions and external adornings.
What’s popular can be a front mask of a religious spirit. As the local church has sought to loose herself of her conservative identity and become more relatable to the lost these past 20-30 years, something in turn has taken place to a vast extent. In her desperate attempt to reach and relate, may I suggest on many levels she has in turn lost her true identity. In order to seek to identify with the world, worldly cultures and ideals have crept into the structures and expressions of the local
church. In her attempt to leave behind the peculiar she has indeed invited in the popular. In her desire to be accepted she has forfeited the very thing that made her separate and gave her her unique identity as a royal priesthood That is the anointing—the very presence of God.
A religious spirit is absolutely against authenticity in every way shape and form. Because authenticity is what the Lord anoints, because it’s real and not fabricated. The Lord is calling His people out from among them, out from among fabricated, fashionable expressions of worship. Now I am not talking about having a spirit of excellence. Absolutely we are to have a spirit of excellence in all we do. What I am talking about is everybody copying and cloning themselves in order to be accepted, liked and popular. I am talking about prioritising fashion above His presence.
The Lord anoints authenticity, not clones. He desires for us to express unto Him our unique sound, our unique way. Sorry to say but professionalising the gospel has disempowered the church and invited in status quo. Are we just happy with having good entertaining services that fulfill the emotions of those who come? Or are we truly desiring to see those who gather together encounter the presence of God and experience yokes fall off them and their lives eternally changed?
True success in our services is not measured by how many people we have managed to draw in by our efforts, but rather how we managed to draw in God’s presence. Has He shown up? The Lord’s presence is His stamp of approval. God forbid I be in a room, stadium, auditorium or wherever the place may be, and it be filled with people who are gathering in the name of Yeshua and He himself not show up. The Lord is not interested in what the number of your gatherings are, but is there room for His presence to attend. Is He is showing up?
The Lord is calling His people out. He is calling His people back to being peculiar, being set apart, to stand out from the rest. He is calling His people to seek His face, His presence as their number one priority. He is calling a people anointed, set apart, consecrated and holy unto Him. He is calling a people who walk by faith and not by sight, who aren’t moved by the displays and wonders of this natural realm but are moved wholly and solely by His Spirit.
God didn’t pay a price for a people who will settle for the realm of natural, limited man-made thinking, but He paid a price for those to accept that sacrifice, to call them the Sons of God, and to be led by His Spirit, walk by His Spirit and Worship in the Spirit. John 4:23 & 24 says, “For now, the time will come, however indeed it is already here, when the true genuine worshipers, will worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth” (reality – without pretense or performance);
“For the father is seeking worshipers such as these (my emphasis). god is a spirit and those who worship him must worship him in spirit and truth.”
This is who the Lord is seeking—pursuers of His Spirit, to be led by His Spirit, to be empowered by His Spirit and be true ambassador’s for the Kingdom of Heaven. As His people embrace this call and again put their emphasis on His presence and His ability to perform for them, they will see Heaven populate with hundreds of thousands, upon millions, of souls. As they turn from seeking the fashionable, to seeking His presence, they will see His Kingdom come on Earth as it is in Heaven.