Isaiah 61:3 promises “…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes…” It is merely an act of our will to claim this gift daily. We tend to put on ashes every time our circumstances become unfavorable—when we are dashed on the rocks of rejection or come face-to-face with trouble or tumble down a hill of disappointment. Yet we forget to put on the crown of beauty every morning and embrace our identity as children of the living God. Even if we have to go through the motions of physically putting on an invisible crown to receive that identity, we should because we embrace our new nature when we do it.
And continuing with Isaiah 61:3, “the oil of joy instead of mourning…” In the same way, we can choose to put on daily the oil of joy. Bathe in it! Shower in it! The stores of heaven are full of joy, vats of it, and it has been given to you. Receive it. Joy has a sweet aroma of life that will attract others who operate in a spirit of depression.
Similarly, let us put on what is in the next verse… “a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” We can cry with those who cry, but then we can lay that down at the cross with all of our earthly problems and put on that garment of praise in the midst of those challenges. Let us lift His Holy Name in praise when we are troubled.
And finally, let’s turn once more to the promise in Isaiah 61:3, “They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” When I was unsaved, even my good intentions had bad outcomes, my decisions were poor when I was able to make a decision at all, and my free time was used up entertaining myself. That was my rotten fruit. With the Holy Spirit in me now, even my accidents have good outcomes, my decisions are based on the omniscient Lord’s guidance, and my free time is dedicated to being obedient to the One who loves others. That is my good fruit. The Lord has planted us to bear good fruit and not for our sakes or even for others, but for His own glory—for the display of splendor of Him who loved us first.
Christians who are already wearing the armor of God can also put on the crown of beauty, oil of joy, and garment of praise. Then we have don’t rock on the waves of circumstance but stand firm on our identity and reflect the attitude that comes with being a child of God.