Whenever you read scripture, you will see how God exchanges things with us. If we give Him our anxieties and worries, He will give us a peace that surpasses all understanding. (Philippians 4:6-7) If we come to Him and sow in tears, He gives us a harvest full of joy. (Psalm 126:5-6) If we encounter shame He will give us a double portion of honor. (Isaiah 61:7) And last but not least, if we are weighed down by the spirit of heaviness, He shall give us a garment of praise. (Isaiah 61:3)
The spirit of heaviness is defined in Strong's Concordance (#1674) as anxiety, carefulness, heaviness and sorrow. For many years, I suffered in silence. The anxieties of life afflicted me so, that I lost weight and even lost sight of myself. I had become so accustomed to living under a rock, I forgot what living in the light looked like. But how many of you know that we serve a God of breakthrough? No matter what, He will always come and find us. You can be in the deepest part of the darkest valley and someway, somehow, His light will still locate you.
In that darkened valley, God exchanged that evil spirit of heaviness for the garment of praise. The anxieties of life stole my voice, but God gave it back. Almost instantly, there was a release. And afterwards I felt such a joy! Did my financial situations or other troubles change that day? No. But even I couldn't deny that what God did was so much more powerful. I could literally say that "God gave me joy!"
But in all seriousness, did God give me joy or did He remove what kept me from coming into His presence? In my Bible it says that in the presence of the Lord is the fullness of joy. (Psalm 16:11) So in my eyes, more than a garment of praise was given, I simply took my rightful position as His daughter in His presence again. A place I never want to depart from.
Today I pray the same over you. That God removes what's blocking you from experiencing the fullness of Him and that in exchange for the spirit of heaviness, He gives you great joy!
“To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.””
Isaiah 61:3 NKJV
“You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
Psalms 16:11 NKJV
Reflection Question(s): We invite you to discuss below.
When did the spirit of heaviness creep up on you? What circumstance/situation pushed you into that dark space? What are the coping mechanisms you put in place to keep yourself under it's control? Knowing this can be lifted, how will you draw back into the presence of God? How will you get rid of those coping mechanisms once and for all?