Day Twenty-Five: Praise Challenge


Isaiah 61 contains a powerful list of divine exchanges!  It tells us that Jesus came to make everything in that list a reality in our lives!  Even more, once we have given our hearts to Him, we, too get the privilege of facilitating divine exchanges in the lives of others. Simply amazing!

One thing on the list has been calling my attention lately:  God promised that through Jesus we can exchange the spirit of heaviness for the garment of praise.  The spirit of heaviness is also described, in some versions, as a faint spirit.  Have you ever felt your spirit fainting?  Have you ever felt weighed down by the cares of your life, so burdened that you just didn’t have the strength to do anything but survive?

I certainly have.  And, in fact, I know a lot of people who live every day this way.  It is heartbreaking to watch, and I am always eager to share this good news with them. Because of Christ, I can bring the heaviness of my heart and soul to God, and walk away with something entirely different, and they can, too! I come daily (sometimes multiple times a day) into the presence of God wearing the burdens of a faint spirit, and I leave clothed in joy and lightness, with a song of praise in my heart.

It’s no magic formula.  It is a divine promise, and God is serious about keeping those!  I often hear people sing or say that in God’s presence, no fear, sickness, pain, darkness, or shame can stand; that He overwhelms it all with His perfect love.  I used to wonder, then, why we still see so much fear, sickness, pain, darkness and shame.  But the more I run into God’s presence – willing to bring all of those things to Him, and intent on receiving what He promises to give in exchange – the less I experience what thrives outside of His presence.  And the more I begin to live in the awareness and power of what banishes the weight of all of those things which threaten to plague my life.

This may not make much sense to you…until you try it!  Think of it like the best coupon or offer you’ve ever received.  You bring your old, damaged, worn-out, filthy clothes, and in exchange you get to take home a rhinestone-studded gown – not only beautiful, but stain resistant and even practical for daily use!  Okay, it’s a silly example, but you get the picture, I hope.  All you have to do is show up, believing you will receive what has been promised.

May you bring your tired, heavy, burdened heart into God’s presence today, and find that He gently lifts the heaviness and bestows a spirit full of joyful praise instead.  Be blessed as you dare to believe, and thus receive!

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