Oftentimes, heaviness starts out as a little care or concern. What begins as a small burden grows and grows. We start to take on responsibilities that aren’t ours. We start thinking we have to keep everyone around us happy. We start worrying about things in the future. All of this piled on becomes very heavy on our hearts and minds.
Did you know that heaviness is actually a spirit? The goal of heaviness is to distract you and get you off track. Heaviness tries to keep your head down so that you can’t even look up to the heavens—the place where your help comes from. Heaviness tries to wear you out and take the place of God’s spirit, but do you know what chases that spirit off? Praise and thanksgiving. See, God inhabits the praises of His people. He literally comes into our praise and works! When you start praising, God shows up in your midst and every foul spirit has to flee!
If you have heaviness upon you today, if you feel trapped, overwhelmed, discouraged, frustrated or anxious, there is only one thing you need to do, and that is to praise Almighty God! Even if it’s difficult, even if you don’t feel like it, just open your mouth and begin to declare His goodness. Sometimes, we have to stir ourselves up in the things of God. Sometimes, we have to get our flesh to obey the Word of God so we can see the breakthrough in the supernatural realm. We have to choose to praise Him in faith knowing that praise unlocks the heavens. Scripture says that we are to enter His gates with thanksgiving in our hearts and enter His courts with praise and bless His holy Name! We should never come empty-handed to God, but we should always give Him praise because He is worthy!
Today put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness (Isaiah 61:3). Set your heart and mind on the Father! Just like Joel says, instead of focusing on your problems, focus on your God. Worry will get you stuck, but praise will get you through! Enter His gates with thanksgiving, shake off heaviness, and embrace the peace, joy and victory God has prepared for you!
Victoria and I get a lot of phone calls during the day here at the ministry, and unfortunately, we don’t have time to take most of them. Our staff is well able to handle most issues for us, but there are two calls that we will always take without exception. I could be in the middle of an important meeting; I could have a thousand things left on my schedule, but when these two people call, no matter what I’m doing or who I’m with, I’m going to step aside and take that call. That’s our two children, Jonathan and Alexandra. They have 24-hour access. When they call, no matter what, I’m going to respond.
That’s the way God is with His children. When you receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you become a part of God’s family. He literally adopts you as His very own. You can call on your heavenly Father anytime, and He will always be there to take your call. He won’t put you on hold. You won’t get a recording. You won’t be transferred to a call center overseas. As God’s child, you have a direct hotline to heaven. You have direct access. He will always stop what He is doing and be right there to take your call.
I hear people say, “Well, Joel, since you’re closer to God, would you pray for me and talk to God for me?” I appreciate their respect, but the truth is if you’ve accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then you’re just as much a child of God as I am. You don’t have to go through a third party. Of course, I would love to pray for you, but you don’t have to come through me, or your priest, or your bishop or another saint who’s already in heaven. You can go directly to God for yourself. Because of the blood of Jesus, you’ve got a direct hotline to heaven, and God will always take your call!
When my children call me during the day, and I see their name come up on the caller ID, something on the inside of me comes alive. I smile before I even talk. They bring joy to my spirit. In the same way, when you call on God, you bring a smile to His face. He says, “Wow! That’s My son. That’s My daughter. I can’t wait to talk to them!”
God longs to hear from you and He wants you to know Him as Father. That’s why when Jesus taught us how to pray in the Lord’s Prayer, He didn’t say, “Start it off by saying, ‘Oh, great, holy, majestic, Creator of the universe.'” He is all that, but Jesus said, “When you pray, address God like this, ‘Our Father….'” He wanted us to see God as our personal, loving Father, someone who is right there close to us, listening to what we have to say and guiding us through life.
Today, remember, when you call on Father God, He hears you. He is listening. He is waiting for you and expecting you, so be bold and call upon His name today!
As followers of Jesus, scripture says that we should reflect His character and likeness and follow His example. Now, that may sound like a pretty tall order; after all, Jesus was the Son of God. But remember, when we accept Him as our Lord and Savior, we become sons and daughters of the Most High God, too! We become empowered by the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead. That means we have the same strength, the same love, the same spirit of humility, and the same victory on the inside. As believers, we are fully equipped to live like Jesus, love like Jesus, and overcome just like Jesus!
So how do we tap into all that He’s placed on the inside of us? Well, first we receive it by faith, and then we simply follow His example. If we want God’s results, we have to do things God’s way. The scripture says that Jesus went around doing good and bringing healing to others physically, spiritually and emotionally. He poured life into others everywhere He went. He shared the Good News and always gave the glory to His Father in heaven. (See Acts 10:38)
What “good” are you doing for others? How are you pouring life into your loved ones? What can you do to bring encouragement to the people in your life? Whether you are a natural encourager or you feel a bit uncomfortable giving compliments, you possess a unique ability to lift the hearts of others and lighten their loads. You are uniquely gifted to meet the needs of others. Even though we all have different personalities and different ways of relating to one another, we can all be great encouragers! To truly encourage is one of the best gifts we can give to the people in our lives. That’s why scripture tells us to “encourage one another daily.”
Today, choose to encourage like Jesus. Choose to live like Jesus, love like Jesus, and as a result, you’ll overcome just like Jesus, too! Remember as a believer, He is in you, He is with you, and He is for you! Follow His example and watch His strength, victory and joy increase in every area of your life!
Verse: “Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [Let Him be your example in humility:]” (Philippians 2:5 AMP)