“…Put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.”
I was reminded of Malcolm Gladwell’s book, “Outliers”. Among the many stories that he tells, which all reinforce his message that each of us gets to where we are in life through the assistance of others and circumstantial opportunities, he goes deeply into the details the the rise of the number of successful law firms in New York City that grew out of the children of first-generation immigrants who were garment makers. This story about the number of garment workers’ children who grew to be the educated and leading lawyers is in itself fascinating. That we all, or at least the many successful and talented people that Gladwell chronicles in the book, are the by-products of others, whether those people know it or not is even more fascinating.
This not unlike the fact that we are certainly products of the prayers that went before us. A Grandmother or Grandfather, a teacher, a parent, or someone at church who prayed our names, have all influenced and been a part of our lives. The part in Gladwell’s book about the garment makers’ offspring reminded me of the Bible verse in Isaiah 61:3 that says we are to “put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness”. A garment of praise? a spirit of heaviness? What is Isaiah trying to get at with us? The spirit of heaviness is one that we put on ourselves like a heavy coat that weighs us down. When we feel sorry for ourselves, or let ourselves feel lonely, of when we become ungrateful, or when we become selfish. These are all the things that can lead to our spirit getting loaded up and loaded down. The only we can break that spirit is to replace the heaviness with the garment of praise. A garment of praise is right there with us at all times, starting with us thanking God for all of the great and wonderful things he has done for us. The Bible calls us to fill our minds and think on the things that are wholesome, good and right. When we are feeling burdened and weighted down with all of the heaviness that comes with this world, we need to be sure that we rise above those emotions and that we start thanking and praising God for the good things in life he as given us. And with these praises and this thankful attitude we will be donning our garments of praise and squeezing out the doubtful thoughts and burdensome questions. God gives us the assurance that He will rescue us from any situation. Likewise, He will removes any spirit of heaviness that we feel, if we will only accept His garment of praise. Like the garment workers who worked so hard and so diligently to rise above the forces that would have kept them down, we too, as believers, need to be the first to shed the heaviness and welcome the gifts of the Lord and be the most thankful of people. In this short Thanksgiving workweek, start today with putting on the garment of praise and thankfulness!
Reference: Isaiah 61:3