We all experience challenges in our lives. We’ve known sickness, financial lack, broken relationships, disappointments, and even the death of loved ones. As a result, we have had many opportunities to feel sad, discouraged, and depressed. Like a wet and ratty bathrobe, those feelings and emotions may cling to us, reminding us daily of our problems.
God, however, doesn’t want us weighed down with our pain and disappointments. It robs us of our joy and peace and hinders us from fulfilling His call on our lives. He loves us and wants us free—for our sake and for others. Instead of the soiled and weighty burden of sorrow, He has a different wardrobe choice for us. And it is the beautiful style He loves—praise.
Let’s read Isaiah 61:1-3:
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, 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 61:1-3)
This is Isaiah prophesying of Jesus long before Jesus read it of Himself in the temple during His earthly ministry (Luke 4:17-21). We are most familiar with verse 1 and 2, but the prophecy continues. Jesus didn’t just come to forgive our sins, heal our bodies, and provide for our needs. He also came to “heal the brokenhearted.” What is one way He does this? By giving us the garment of praise to replace the spirit of heaviness.
God doesn’t force us to put on that garment, however. He offers it to us, but we must choose to receive it and put it on. Very rarely will we feel like it, especially when our minds are filled with what we’re dealing with. But the key is to by-pass our feelings and put it on by faith, confident that we will see positive results!
So what does putting on the garment of praise do?
- It shows God that we’re trusting Him and giving Him permission to work on our behalf.
- It forces the spirit of heaviness to leave.
- It allows the oil of joy to flow into our lives.
- It causes us to grow strong and stable like a deeply rooted tree.
- It glorifies the Tailor who designed our garment.
Knowing this, we should never doubt the worth of our praise. It’s not a waste of our time, or something just to cheer us up. It is a powerful action that the devil can’t tolerate or beat. It touches the throne of heaven, the home of our help!
Once we put the garment of praise on, we should wear it daily—regardless of whether things are going good or bad. When our lives are peaceful, it’s easy to let our guard down and begin to slip from our garment of praise. Once out of that garment, it’s harder to put it back on when trouble comes our way. On the other hand, when we live a lifestyle of wearing it 24/7, our automatic response will be to praise. It will come naturally because it’s who we are and what we do.
The choice is ours. We can choose to stay wrapped in our spirit of heaviness and experience sadness and discouragement. Or we can wear God’s garment of praise and know joy and peace. The choice we make means the difference between defeat and victory.