"I'll give you these potato chips for that chocolate chip cookie...", remember those days in the school cafeteria? What about that friend or cousin with great style, wouldn't you just love to spend some time in her closet? In both of these scenarios there is only one logical thing to do...make a trade! When you trade, you exchange what you have for a better option. While trading with friends is fun, God wants to make a trade with us too! The only difference is that God is not interested in our snacks, clothes, or other material possessions. He wants to trade us for those things that burden us and steal our joy. Isaiah 61:3 (KJV) reads: 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.
Have you ever felt like your life was in ashes? I certainly have! Ashes are the residue that remains after burning; when something is ruined or destroyed. While there probably was no physical fire, you may be left in 'ashes' emotionally or mentally. God will give you His beauty to look at the situation in a brand new way. He can take those remains and give you a beautiful testimony of restoration. Grab your broom and sweep all of those ashes right to the feet of Jesus. Accept the beauty that He is offering you instead.
Have you experienced mourning? At times life will leave you feeling sorrowful. Mourning is defined as a natural response to grief and pain. However, God does not want you to mourn for to long. The enemy will try to immobilize you and keep you mourning for an extensive period of time. God is ready to trade you right now; He has the oil of joy for you! The joy that God gives is a great delight in every situation. The oil, to me, represents the continual flow of the joy that He will send your way. Will you trade with Him and receive the oil of joy?
A spirit of heaviness is when you feel weighed down. This could be when you feel deep, intense sadness or depression. You could be left feeling heavy, burdened, and hopeless. For some, getting up and facing the day could be a challenge. Jesus does not want you to live that way. In fact, He said that He came so we would have abundant life! Release that heaviness to God and watch Him put the garment of praise on you! You will no longer be weighed down but free to praise Him! There is something about praise that changes everything! When you wear the garment of praise you will find that the more you praise, the lighter you will feel! Let Him Heal your soul!
Your Sister in Christ,
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we want to thank you for trading with us. Please remove the ashes, mourning and heaviness from each person reading this. Give them your beauty, joy, and praise instead! We thank you in advance for being faithful. In Jesus' Name, Amen.