The Mystery of Christ, by Watchman Nee


The anointing is so precious because grace flows from the Head to the Body by means of the anointing. The function of the anointing is to maintain the link between the Head and the Body, as well as the link between all the members. The anointing is the operation of the Holy Spirit within man. The relationship between the Holy Spirit, Christ, and the church can be compared to the nerves in the human body. The nerves direct and coordinate all the members of the body. The head communicates and directs all the members through the nerves, and through the nerves all the members are related one to another as well. All the members in the body move according to the direction of the nerves. Submitting to the nerves is submitting to the head. Likewise, in the spiritual Body the Holy Spirit carries the thoughts of the Head to all the members. As members of the Body of Christ, we have to yield to the authority of the Holy Spirit. When we yield to the authority of the Holy Spirit, we are yielding to the Head. When we grieve the Spirit, we frustrate our relationship with the Head. We hold the Head by simply yielding to the Spirit.


In the Bible the Holy Spirit is symbolized by many things, such as the wind, the living water, and the fire. At the same time, the Holy Spirit is also life, power, etc. However, 1 John 2:27 is particularly sweet in its description of the Holy Spirit as the anointing. This is the teaching of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit teaches by the anointing. We do not know the will of God by studying and weighing the pros and cons of a particular matter. We know the will of God by the teaching of the anointing. The Holy Spirit communicates the mind of Christ to us. It is not necessary to continually ask, "Is this the will of God?" "We have the mind of Christ" (1 Cor. 2:16). When the Head wishes a member of the Body to move, He intimates it through the anointing, and as we yield to the anointing, life flows freely from the Head. If we resist the anointing, the relationship with the Head is interfered with and the flow of life stops. Many believers miss the leading of the Lord because they are not under the Head. The anointing does not come directly upon the Body but upon the Head. Believers can receive the anointing which flows from the Head to the Body only when they are directly under the Head.

The anointing is something very fine and soothing. The teaching of the Holy Spirit is not something rough or wild. It does not blow on us like the wind or burn us like fire. Rather, it anoints us like oil. This is how the Holy Spirit teaches us. Wherever there is the oil, there is the work of God. His work does not depend on words, biblical interpretations, reasons, judgments concerning right and wrong, etc. God’s work and leading within us come by way of a kind of inner sense of life. This sense of life is the anointing of the Spirit. The Head does not use external means to control the Body. "The life was the light of men" (John 1:4). In seeking to know the will of God, we cannot arrive at it by asking, "Is this right or wrong?" Rather, we should ask, "Do I have life regarding this?" If we feel dead inside, then there is no anointing, and if we act without the anointing, we are acting without the authority of the Head. For example, sometimes we may want to visit someone, but we feel cold and indifferent within. As far as doctrines, human affections, or biblical principles are concerned, we should visit him. But the more we resolve to go, the colder we become. This means that the Spirit is telling us not to go. At another time, we may visit someone and feel as if we are under some kind of sweet anointing; everything is soothing and comfortable. This is the teaching that comes from the Spirit’s anointing. The more we go along with this anointing, the stronger we will be, and the more there will be an "amen" within.

The teaching of the anointing of the Spirit has nothing to do with right or wrong, what should or should not be done, or what is true or false. It is an inner feeling of life. Many people still work according to the principle of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the tree from which Adam ate. This is to walk according to the principle of right and wrong; however, God’s work in Christ is a matter of life. It is a matter of the anointing of the Spirit. Where the anointing is, there is life. As long as one has the anointing and the life, everything is right and according to God’s desire. Those who are clever and acquainted with Bible doctrines are not necessarily more familiar with God’s work. Sometimes a brother or sister from the rural countryside may know more about God’s work. They do not have knowledge, but they have life. If this were not God’s way, He would be very unfair. Illiterate country folk would be doomed because they would not have the mental knowledge and would be unable to know God’s will. But our God is not a respecter of persons. Whether or not we have the mental knowledge and whether we are clever or slow, the teaching of the anointing still abides in us. As long as we walk according to the inner anointing of the Spirit, we will know God’s will and be acquainted with God’s work.

(The Mystery of Christ, Chapter 7, by Watchman Nee)