I can't even tell you how much is going on right now in my life personally, as well as in the lives of those around me. There are so many prayer requests, so many trials, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. The very fact that I have felt overwhelmed reveals my biggest problem, which is, that I want to fix everyone & everything. And because I don't always know how to solve the problems, or how to pray for God to "fix" it, I start to feel heavy. Have you ever felt "heavy"? Have you felt like the weight of the world is sitting on your chest and you can barely breathe? I have been there more times that I would like to admit. I could be that way TODAY with some of the things that are going on, BUT, praise God, over the years, He has taught me the key to getting rid of heaviness. I will share it with you today, free of charge! You may already know this, but it's always good to be reminded.
If you have time, read the entire chapter of Isaiah 61 because it's just that good. However, let me point out some key Scriptures that will help you with a heavy heart. (I will be using the notes from my "Spirit Filled Life Bible" NKJ version, as well as my own comments)
Isaiah 61 is talking about the "Good News of Salvation" - so remember, no matter what's going on in your life today, you always have "good news", just think about your salvation. After all, the word Gospel means good news. Right away, the chapter declares what Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit to do - vs. 1 "He came to heal the brokenhearted, proclaim freedom to the captives (those in sin)..." In vs. 3 it says "He will comfort all who mourn (not just at a funeral, but talking about feeling sorry for your sins, repentance). He will give them beauty for ashes (burns from life's pain and trials), AND the oil of joy for mourning (oil of joy represents the Holy Spirit).
I want to focus on the end of vs. 3 where it says "the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness..." The first thing that sticks out to me about this verse is that heaviness is described as a "spirit". (notes from NKJ "the spirit of heaviness refers to discouragement. It is to be replaced by an abundant life, the garment of praise. Many see in this text, the power of worship-filled praise to cast off oppressive works of darkness.") So we see that God gave us a garment of praise to fight off a spirit of heaviness. That's the answer! Praising God, even when you don't feel like it, drives a heavy heart away. Praise transforms you from the inside out. Here is what the NKJ notes from my bible said: "The glorious garment of praise: the Hebrew root for garment ('atah) shows praise as more than a piece of clothing casually thrown over our shoulders. It literally teaches us to 'wrap' or 'cover' ourselves - that the garment of praise is to leave no openings through which hostile elements can penetrate. This garment of praise repels and replaces the heavy spirit. This special message of instruction and hope is for those oppressed by fear or doubt. 'Put on this garment. A warm coat from our closet only resists the cold wind when it is 'put on'". Isaiah 61:10 also talks about garments - "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness." I love this last line from the NKJ notes - "when distressed, be dressed - in the garment of praise!" That is my new motto.
If you'd like further proof from Scripture as to why praise works to fend off heaviness....then you are stubborn (just kidding). Let's look at these Scriptures:
Psalm 16:11 "...in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore."
Psalm 22:3 "But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel" (Israel represents God's people, which now includes all those who have accepted Jesus as their Savior) NKJ notes says "Since God is enthroned in the praises, worship is the key to entering fully into His presence. The concept here is that praise releases God's glory, thus bringing to the worshipers actualized responses to His kingly reign..." You might have also heard this Scripture paraphrased as "God inhabits the praises of His people" (this might be the King James version ???)
Nehemiah 8:10 "...do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength".
I use these 3 Scriptures to show that God fellowships with you when you praise Him. (in His presence = fullness of joy) As a result of His presence, joy comes; as a result of joy, we get strength. It's like a spiritual math equation.
So let's look at what gifts God has given us to overcome the spirit of heaviness. He gave us a garment of praise. If we praise Him, His presence comes to us, and as His presence comes, we also receive strength.
We have all that we need to overcome a spirit of heaviness, if we choose to activate it. This is where the hard part is, the walking it out portion. We have to follow the example left by King David, who was described in the Bible as "a man after God's own heart". Listen to what David said in Psalm 42:11 "why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God." David is talking to his own soul (mind, emotions, will) and he commands it to hope in God. He goes on to say that God helps his countenance. David was a champion of trusting & hoping in God in the midst of many trials. He was a warrior, but I am willing to say rather confidently, that his ability in battle was not what made him "a man after God's own heart"; more than likely, it was because he knew how to worship with all of us heart. (see 2nd Samuel 6:14 "...then David danced before the Lord with all his might...")
Here is our to-do list (when we feel heaviness trying to creep in):
1. Let us command our soul to put our hope in God. (Psalm 42:11)
2. Put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness (Isaiah 61:3)
3. Allow God's presence to bring joy, & let the joy of the Lord be our strength (Nehemiah 8:10)
4. Watch that heavy spirit flee!
R ~Rag Rugs
2 days ago