Isaiah 61:1-3Honestly, that phrase "beauty for ashes" has always been one of those Christian-ese things that is said, but one that never really resonated for me. However, when I saw that this was the subject of this Monday's Faithbuilder meme, I really began to think about it. Heather asks, "Where is Christ leading you? Have you traded your ashes in for beauty? Have you replaced your mourning with JOY? Do you wear forgiveness like a crown? He wants you to lay every burden down- He died so that you would have a place to lay it- at the foot of the cross." Maybe on this day that phrase does have new meaning, because I am seeing God at work in a difficult situation. In the Old Testament, ashes signify mourning. He is promising us beauty instead of ashes and joy instead of mourning. In reading the verses before Isaiah 61:3 in which that phrase appears, I have to say that I feel called to wear that forgiveness like a crown and to preach good news to the poor. I think that it's my heart that must be bound up. Proclaiming freedom from my own heart of darkness is and will bring joy to me and to others. How?
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach 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,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.
- Bringing joy to others instead of grief by loving them unconditionally
- Binding up negative thoughts which cause slaying another in spirit
- Staying focused on the truth of God taught in the Bible
- Focusing on uplifting others instead of being right
- Giving up my rights and instead clothing myself with humility
Click over to Faithlifts to read Heather's perspective and the others linked up.