Put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness! “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,” (Is. 61:3). We often hear people quote this when they see someone is discouraged, which is what heaviness can be compared to. Some might adapt the verse to say, “Put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness!” The Spirit of praise is something you have to “put on.” Jesus Christ put our sins on Himself for us, so shouldn’t we put on praise for Him?
Praise and worship is not always about a feeling. It is about what needs to be done and what we were created to do. We were created to worship. When the spirit of heaviness comes on us, we need to stand before the throne of God and worship. Putting on praise is like putting on armor; it is heavy, but we have to wear it. We have to dress ourselves in praise like a soldier dresses for battle. You have to push in and persevere just like the men in battle and biblical accounts in the Old Testament.
The heaviness I have been talking about is the heaviness that comes upon us in opposition. This heaviness is a distraction. It is ungodly and wants to weigh us down and distract us from our purpose of worshiping God. Heaviness comes in all forms. It can be a presence in the room, a person who enters the room who is weighed down, an evil spirit trying to penetrate the atmosphere, or it can be something whose purpose is to detour you from worship. This kind of heaviness is a weight, distraction or stressor that inhibits the move of God.
There is another type of heaviness that comes upon us that we welcome, and that is the heaviness of God’s manifest presence. It is when the Spirit of the Lord Himself shows up in your presence. It is referred to as when Moses couldn’t stand in His presence and neither can we. When we cultivate the atmosphere by singing our praise, by giving our hearts to Him, by extending all we are, our inner most being to Him. He will enter into our presence and commune with us. He will give us visions, increase our discernment, equip us for ministry and simply is with us.
It is His manifest presence, the heavy weight of the glory, that we should be seeking and calling forth. In His presence, in this weight of glory, you have direct access to the throne of God. It is like God Himself just showed up in the room. How I long for people to experience the manifest presence of the Lord. It is throughout the Bible, but so often fear rises up and people prevent themselves from entering into that deep presence of the Lord. They don’t understand it, haven’t experienced it, and are afraid of it. Some people are completely satisfied with where they are with the Lord and aren’t seeking more. Others say it’s not for me, I am not good enough to experience that, or they don’t understand it and shut God off from what He wants to do, from what He can give them.
People perish for lack of knowledge; well, in this case, people lack the presence of the living God, because they don’t know how He wants to visit them. He wants to give you visions of your future, answer your dreams, show you your destinies and give you gifts greater than you can imagine. He wants you to cry out to Him in sorrow and repentance and He wants to wipe every tear away.
In order to get to the heaviness of God’s presence we need to move through the heaviness of distraction in worship. It is an effort sometimes to worship when you don’t feel like it, when children are crying and distractions are all around. Worship is warfare. The enemy doesn’t like it when we worship and will try to erect blockages, but we can be victorious. It takes effort, perseverance, however when we break through the heaviness of the world we will enter into the heaviness of our Heavenly Father’s presence.
Won’t you cultivate the atmosphere in your home, in your prayer groups, in your worship services to let the heavy weight of His glory come in? The King of Glory wants to come into your life, your meeting and your church service. Let Him come in, desire Him to come in, repent for what you did not know or want to experience, and let the King of Glory come in.
We don’t worship to get something out of it, it is not for us. However, we will end up blessed when we push through. We will have the pleasure of knowing we worshiped with pure intentions and took back territory from the enemy. We could even get a garment of praise, a vision, a word from the Lord, a personal intimate moment with Him or peace from experiencing His presence. He blesses us for our obedience and He blesses us for our worship. He doesn’t have to but He chooses to.
Spiritual warfare is real. Before, during and after, it can put on a spirit of heaviness. At times like these, when we feel the weight, sometimes it is all we can do to stand up with arms open wide and put on the garment of praise. Praise changes the atmosphere, worship changes the atmosphere. Let’s change the atmosphere of our lives today!