May 30, 2024


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Rev. Innocent Chukwudi Peace-Udochukwu President Living Fountain Ministries Int’l LIFOM

“The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.’ Isaiah 61:3

The phrase garment of praise is a metaphor for the gladness and thanksgiving God’s people feel when they are filled with the joy of the Lord. In ancient times, it was customary for a grieving person to wear sackcloth (see Esther 4:1). The garment of praise is the opposite of sackcloth; it is brightly colored raiment indicative of celebration. The Christian Standard Bible translates it as “splendid clothes.”

God has promised you ‘the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.’ It works like this. When you begin to praise Him with a heavy heart, you experience a new sense of hope and joy. Through worship you are reminded that God is bigger than the situation you face; that He’s not only capable of managing your concerns but willing, wanting and waiting to. The Psalmist wrote: ‘Seven times a day I praise You.’ (Psalm 119:164 NKJV)

Isaiah 61:3 speaks of a garment of praise in a prophecy that the coming Messiah would “provide for those who grieve in Zion.” The Lord promises that He would “bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair” (Isaiah 61:3).

At the beginning of Jesus Christ’s ministry, He visited the synagogue in His hometown of Nazareth. There, he read a portion of Isaiah 61. After Jesus read part of the messianic prophecy, He handed the scroll back to the attendant and shocked the religious leaders by saying, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21). Jesus boldly proclaimed that He was the One who would one day take away the spirit of despair and give the garment of praise. In so doing, He claimed to be the long-awaited Messiah.

God created human beings to worship and glorify Him (Jeremiah 13:11; Isaiah 43:7; Ephesians 2:10). Jesus came to atone for our sin, to make a way for us to be restored to fellowship with God. He longs for us to turn to Him in faith and let Him fill us with His joy (Acts 13:52; 1 Thessalonians 1:6). When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, and we cannot help but praise Him (Ephesians 5:18–20)!

Those today who know the joy of the Lord and wear a “garment of praise” are always seeking ways they can honor the Lord. They are busy serving, loving, and praising the Lord for all He is doing in their lives. They want every moment on earth to count for eternity because they have discovered the joy of working hand in hand with God. Those who wear the “garment of praise” have a few things in common:

• They love to sing and make music in their hearts to the Lord (Ephesians 5:19; Psalm 95:2).

Praise works like a magnifying glass. It causes what you’re focusing on to get bigger, to be ‘magnified’. David said, ‘Magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together. I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.’ (Psalm 34:3–4 NKJV) It’s a mistake to wait until you’ve no problems, fewer problems, or your problems are solved before you praise the Lord. Praise is one of the great Scriptural keys to problem-solving because it gets your focus on God, the problem solver. Charles Spurgeon said: ‘My happiest moments are when I am worshipping God, really adoring the Lord Jesus Christ… In that worship I forget the cares of the church and everything else. To me it is the nearest approach to what it will be in Heaven.’
There Is A Link Between The Garment Of Praise And Irreversible Blessing.

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.”
Isaiah‬ ‭61‬:‭1-3‬

Jesus, the Anointed One, with the power of God, came to undo all that sin had done. In fact, 1 John actually says this, that the Son of God was manifested to destroy the works of the wicked one. The word for ‘destroy’ there is the Greek word ‘luo’, which means ‘to loose’. It’s as if Jesus came and He loosed at the seams everything that the devil had done. As He walked about in His earthly ministry – and we see this in the wonderful works that He did, and in the empowerment that He gave to the apostles and then all His disciples and followers in the great commission, and the power that we now are made partakers of – He’s still meant to be doing this! He is meant to be tearing at the seams the work of the devil, for sin impoverishes, doesn’t it? It makes people poor. Sin breaks hearts, so many people are heartbroken because of sin. Sin captivates with its great attractiveness, and then of course it imprisons people once they have followed that attraction. Sin binds, sin puts people in all sorts of bondages. But what the Lord Jesus has purposed in coming is to heal the brokenhearted, isn’t that right? To bind them up! To proclaim liberty, freedom to captives. To open the doors of the prison to them that are bound – this is what the Lord Jesus has purposed to do. He has announced and is ushering in the acceptable year of the Lord, that is the year of Jubilee.
He is meant to be tearing at the seams the work of the devil…

Fill your day with praise. Don’t just take coffee breaks and tea breaks, take ‘praise breaks.’ Begin to praise God for two things: (1) His attributes. His power, love, grace, favour, guidance, etc. (2) His acts. Recall His goodness to you. Go ahead; take off the spirit of heaviness and put on the garment of praise.
You can’t put heaviness off until you put praise on!

When you grumble, when you murmur, when you complain, when you engage in pessimism, when you engage in unbelief, you invite the spirit of heaviness…

Jesus came to address the problem of distress, pain and mourning among God’s people. He came to give a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. The Spirit of heaviness could mean a bitter spirit, a broken spirit or a state of mourning. Heaviness could also mean a blasted dream or vision.

Whatsoever it is, the spirit of heaviness is counterproductive. It affects the person bearing it. It affects your judgement. It doesn’t allow you to look at issues objectively. It destroys your joy. You are not joyful, buoyant or glad. Heaviness makes you jealous and affects the journey to the Promised Land; it jeopardizes your outcome.

You must protect your head. The head is the seat of intellect; it controls our being. Keep control of your head in all circumstances. Take heed unto thyself. You are responsible for yourself. The Psalmist says, ‘…You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.’ (Psalm 23:5). The helmet of salvation protects our head. Exercise habitual self control. Subject every thought and imagination that comes to your head under God’s control. When the pressure is high, don’t lose your head. Don’t lose your mind. Don’t throw in the towel. Think about joyful things. ‘Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away’ (Isaiah 51:11).

Keep your heart, your sensibility, your affections, and your emotions. Guard your emotions. Proverbs 4:23 says, ‘Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.’ Our Lord Jesus Christ encouraged in John 16:33, ‘I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.’ Paul wrote, ‘Let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful’ (Colossians 3:15).

Believe in God. Go back to God. In His presence, you can say it all. We get the garment of praise when we go to God as our helper. When things got tough around Jesus, he went to the mountain to pray alone. Vain is the help that comes from Man. The Psalmist says, ‘I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come?’ My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.’ Those who are blocking the plan of God for your life are those you trust. Look up to God and He will help you. Psalm 34:5 says, ‘They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces will never be ashamed.’
Amidst the difficulties of life, you must keep hope alive. The trials should push you forward. Your situation happened for the furtherance of the gospel. Apostle Paul told the Philippians, ‘Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ’ (Phil 1:12-13). When you are calm and composed, God’s invisible power will fight for you.
No one can quench your light as long as you are working in the principles of God. In the process of your journey, you get fit and you use the situation as a learning curve for greatness. You move from shouting and ranting to being a person of grace. God is preparing you for greater things ahead. Keep hoping, keep believing; keep trusting.

God bless you.