The spirit of heaviness is a condition we’ve all experienced at different seasons in life. Who of us hasn’t felt the crushing weight of circumstances, grief, or exhaustion threaten to block our sense of God’s presence?
Even though Jesus warned us that in this world we would have trouble, He assured us that He has overcome this world. In Him, we can too.
“The spirit of heaviness can be characterized as any intense negative feeling that challenges our faith and what we know about God. Heaviness may result from our own habitual sins like addiction, lying, and gossip, or could also occur from the loss of a job, even a loved one. To feel heavy is to be burdened, and to be burdened is to not carry the light and easy yoke of Jesus.
It’s important to note that a spirit of heaviness should not be confused with clinical depression or mental illness. Spiritual heaviness is caused by a spiritual burden, which can only be remedied through spiritual means, while clinical depression and mental illness are considered physiological and psychological maladies. This is not to say that one can’t lead to the other, but for the purpose of this article, we’ll focus on the spiritual issues.
A spirit of heaviness often creeps in during times of trouble. God allows testing and trials in our lives to refine us into the image of His Son. But the enemy will do everything in his power to thwart that process. Although suffering exists in every Christian’s journey with Jesus, our hope lies in His promise that we never have to walk through those valleys alone.
There are many reasons Christians choose to break fellowship with other Believers. But the Bible is clear that we’re to clear up any and all hindrances to fellowship among Brothers and Sisters in Christ. The world watches our interactions with each other, more than ever. The communion Christians have with one another speaks to the unsaved world about our communion with God. We can’t allow unforgiveness, offense, and hurt feelings keep the Body of Christ from bearing our Savior’s image to the world He died to save. But beyond that, we can never walk in the freedom of the Holy Spirit until we make right our relationships with other Believers—and choose to invest time together in serving His purposes.
When everything around us appears dark and foreboding, we have a choice to hunker down and hide or be the light in the darkness. Even when don’t feel the light of God’s presence, we can trust that He lives within us.
Oftentimes our brokenness can reveal His light to the perishing world, better than anything else. When we make a choice to serve others out of our own depletion—His perfect love shines through. “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body” (2 Corinthians 4:8-10)