The new year is always an exciting time… It’s a blank canvas to fill with exciting plans and possibilities. I think everyone is anticipating this new year with hope and ready to leave last year behind. The new year typically brings a fresh commitment to healthy living. I’m convicted to not just keep my physical body strong, but building up my spiritual strength as well.
What is Spiritual Strength?
Proverbs 18:14 (NKJV) begins with this explanation: “The spirit of a man will sustain him…”
A healthy, strong spirit “sustains us” or in other words:
and nourishes us each day.
When our spirit is strong, we have peace, trust, and unshakeable faith in God.
I’m starting this year with a renewed goal of building up my spiritual strength. We heard a lot last year about strengthening our immune system to fight off germs. The best way to keep our immune system strong is to choose a healthy lifestyle.
I want to build up my spiritual immune system too! When we work on building up our spiritual strength, we build immunity to fight off worry, doubt, fear, and any adversity that comes our way.
Bible Verses on Spiritual Strength
The Lord is the Strength of My Life
God is the source of our spiritual strength, and there are many Bible verses to remind and encourage us of how He works in our lives. Here are just a few:
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1 KJV.
The Hebrew word “strength” used in this verse means a place of safety, a refuge, and stronghold, a fortress, and a rock. Why would I want to live anywhere else?
He Gives me Strength
“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13 NIV.
When Paul was writing to the people of Philippi, he knew that no amount of “bucking up” or trying harder would get them through life’s challenges. There is only One resource that can empower and strengthen us, and His name is Jesus. There are many times I forget His power lives in me! (Ephesians 3:20)
“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak… those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.” Isaiah 40:29, 31 NIV.
We all get tired and weak, but God’s power and strength never waiver or diminish. He’s never too busy or tired to listen and help us. Call on Him anytime to renew your strength!
How to Be Spiritually Strong in the Lord
We have to be willing participants in building up strength- physical and spiritual. There are steps we can take to improve areas where we are spiritually weak and build up our “spiritual immunity.”
First things first; we have to identify areas where we are weak or could use a bit of improvement.
Assessing Your Spiritual Condition
We’ve all had personal assessments done; report cards in school, performance reviews at work, or even yearly physical exams. The goal is to evaluate strengths and weaknesses and provide ways to improve.
Assessing your spiritual condition follows a similar path, except you are in charge, which involves some honest self-reflection.
Consider the following statements as a starting point. Assign a number from 1 to 10 to each statement, with ten being excellent.
(A gentle reminder: a healthy and strong spirit is something we work on daily; we are all a “work in progress.”)
Pray before you begin and ask the Holy Spirit to guide and direct your thoughts.
(Here’s a printable version if you prefer…)↓
I spend quality time studying and reading God’s Word daily.
My prayer life is robust; I spend time speaking and listening to God throughout the day.
I love to worship and praise God, even during tough times.
I am actively working on mastering the sin in my life; I am quick to confess when I fall short.
My daily conversations (including social media and text messages!) reflect my relationship with Jesus.
I use my money to honor God’s goals and plans; not my own. Everything I have is from Him.
I am serving God by using the gifts and talents He has given me.
Forgiving others comes easy to me, even the troublesome people in my life because Jesus forgave me first.
I reflect the love of Jesus by caring for “the least of these.”
I am confident I could defend and share my faith if asked about it.
Wow-just writing these out convicted me of areas I need to improve on. We all have areas where we struggle. But please know that right this moment, even before you have made one change, God loves you more than you can imagine. He delights in you and is cheering you on as you commit to building up your spiritual strength!
Building Spiritual Strength
As in most things, finding the motivation to move forward can be challenging. You’ve identified the areas you want to strengthen; where do you go from here?
1) Don’t rely on yourself. Resolutions made in the new year most often fall short. Our strength comes from God; rely on Him. Pray for His strength each day; ask Him to guide and direct your change.
2) Stretch yourself. Just as it takes exercise to build up our physical muscles, we can’t build up “spiritual muscle” without exercising our faith. Ask Him what He wants you to do and then follow His leading! Remember- you can do everything through him who gives you strength.
4) Rest in Him. Just as our physical muscles need a day of rest, we need to take time to cast our cares on Him and rest on His promises. It takes strength to realize when we need to rest and take the time to do it.
5) Recognize that sometimes God gives your spiritual strength a workout through struggles. It’s never easy, but resistance builds strength. Working through hardships can help us rely on and trust in God in ways we never have before. We come out on the other side with a spiritual strength that is bulging with trust and obedience!
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Signs of a Strong Spirit
Strengthening our spirit comes with so many benefits! Here are just a few:
“Resist him, standing firm in the faith.” 1 Peter 5:9a NIV. Peter warns us of our enemy, Satan, who is prowling around looking for ways to tempt us into sin.
Temptations bring attention to areas of weakness in our lives, and spiritual strength helps us overcome them. Jesus used the Word of God when Satan tempted Him in the desert. We need to do the same.
From the beginning of time, Satan has tried to tempt us by feeding our personal doubts and insecurities.
Knowing what Jesus has to say about you brings spiritual strength and is another awesome weapon against temptation. Do you know who He says you are? It’s all in His Word.
Related Post: Embracing Your Identity in Christ
I Will Not Be Shaken
Jesus tells us that when we build our house on a firm foundation of rock, no flood or storm can shake or move it. (Luke 6: 46-49). When our spirits are strong, we can withstand pressures, forceful impacts, and storms in our lives.
Living without Fear
A strong faith cancels out fear. The stronger your faith, the less fear can control your thoughts and actions.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)
Can you imagine living without fear? It is possible when we are spiritually strong!
We Are Overcomers
Nothing can separate us from the love Jesus has for us! There is no hardship, illness, or persecution that can remove His presence in our lives. We may drift away from Him when troubles come. But when we believe in His overwhelming assurances, they help us overcome any battle and feel secure.
Be Strong in the Lord!
The world pulls us in directions that do not honor God. Strengthening our spirit and growing healthy spiritual habits are important. It will be our lifelong struggle, but He calls us to grow!
“Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 3:18 NIV
As you focus on this process, it’s important to know the “why” behind building spiritual strength. Consider this statement:
Building up our spiritual strength isn’t just about praying, serving, or “doing” more as empty activities. Jesus doesn’t want you to read His Word or serve in His name as a “chore” to be completed.
We should build up our spiritual strength because we desire a loving and strong relationship with our King! Do we want to live more like Jesus? Do we truly desire spiritual growth?
He is so in love with you, and He wants your heart and mind to be in sync with His. We come closer to living this kind of life when we build up our spiritual strength!
All Scripture is taken from the NIV unless specified otherwise.
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