January 7, 2019
"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 61:3 (KJV)
I was flying out of town for a week of work. A few minutes before leaving for the airport, I glanced at my airline ticket and saw a code I didn't recognize. I did a quick check, and to my dismay, discovered the code meant I couldn't bring any type of luggage with me. I was limited to a small backpack that could fit under the seat.
What could I do?
Tucking what I could in a small backpack, I then started improvising. I put on two pairs of pants. One camisole. Two shirts. A sweater and a jacket. Two pairs of socks. My hope was to mix and match and wash each day's outfit in the hotel sink.
An hour later when I climbed on the small plane, it felt suffocating. I expected TSA to pull me from my seat at any moment for being a rule-breaker. When I finally arrived at my destination, I couldn't wait to get to the hotel room and throw off the burden of the extra clothes.
That was a one-time experience, but there are times I sometimes wear heavy spiritual garments like disillusionment, a critical spirit or an overwhelmed heart.
These "garments" don't serve a purpose. They aren't what I want to wear, especially for years at a time. Thankfully, I don't have to keep them on because my heavenly Father offers something so much better.
In Isaiah 61, God notices the Israelites' affliction. Through the prophet Isaiah, God promises that one day they would exchange mourning and sadness for something new.
"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 61:3).
Mourning would be replaced with the oil of joy. Sadness would transform into a garment of praise.
When I was on the airplane struggling under the weight of so many clothes, I wished I had paid a higher price for a regular ticket. It would have been a sacrifice, but it would have also brought relief.
When we carry the weight of unresolved grief, pain, hurt or disillusionment, the price of freedom has already been paid for us. Though we may have worn these heavy garments for a season, we're not required to wear them forever.
Our heavenly Father paved the way, through His Son, Jesus, to throw off those weights and receive an exquisite covering of forgiveness, healing, wholeness and love. As we receive that gift, Jesus exchanges our hurts for joy.
Are you ready to exchange those unwanted garments for a garment of praise? You are invited to walk freely into His presence, for He is your Source.
Dear Lord, we hold up these weighty garments that are ill-fitting and unwanted. Replace them with joy, with comfort and Your anointing. Thank You that You have paid the price so we might live un-constricted and free. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Isaiah 61:1-2, "The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD‘s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn." (NIV)
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Start the new year with a daily devotional from Suzanne (Suzie) Eller, Come With Me Devotional: A Year-Long Adventure in Following Jesus. Walk with Jesus daily through the book of Luke, and grow through His words and example.
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
In order to put on something new, we first take off the old. What's one thing you sense God asking you to remove in order to receive the new? Share it with us in the comments.
As you receive a "garment of praise," consider someone you know who might feel burdened, and pray for them today.
© 2019 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.