We all go through challenges from time to time, but the last few days and months have particularly been a season of adversity.  It’s easy in difficult experiences to grow discouraged and weary, but we cannot lose hope.  “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small” (Proverbs 24:10, NKJV).  We must continue to trust in the Lord and draw our strength from Him.  Let’s make up our minds that we won’t faint in the day of adversity.

We certainly need strength to make it through difficult times, but it takes more than physical strength.  We need a spiritual strength deep in our souls that will keep us going in trying times.  So, today, I’d like to remind you of two simple yet powerful elements that will build your spiritual strength.

One attribute that will make you strong is wisdom.  Indeed, the Bible tells us that “a wise man is strong” (Proverbs 24:5).  So, if you want to grow in strength, you need to grow in wisdom. But how do we gain wisdom?  We do so by receiving God’s words for us.

“My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you, so that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding … Then you will understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2:1-2,5-6).

No matter what your level of strength is – high, low, or somewhere in between – it will always increase when you give attention to God’s words.  There are many things we can do to help us receive God’s words: read the Bible, meditate on scriptures, memorize scriptures, speak scriptures out loud, write down your thoughts about scriptures, talk about scriptures with others, and listen to sermons.

These may sound like simple actions (and they are), but they are practical steps to growing in wisdom and critical to keeping us strong.  To avoid fainting in the day of adversity, we must draw close to the Lord and listen for Him.

Another spiritual attribute that will keep us strong is joy.  The Bible tells us that “the joy of the LORD is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).  Notice that this joy is “of the Lord.”  It may be hard to find things to be joyful about when you look at what is happening in society and in the news.  But there is a joy “of the Lord” that is not based on circumstances or emotions that are ever-changing.  The joy of the Lord is based on timeless truth.

Just like we grow in wisdom by receiving God’s words, we also grow in joy by receiving His words.  In fact, let’s consider the context of this passage that declares “the joy of the LORD is your strength.”  Nehemiah, who was the governor of the land at the time, made this declaration after Ezra, the priest and scribe, read the Book of the Law of Moses out loud to the people.  After he read, “all the people went their way … and rejoiced greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them” (Nehemiah 8:12).

When we understand the words that God has declared to us, we can rejoice greatly too.  Find wisdom and joy in these words today: “The LORD will give strength to His people; The LORD will bless His people with peace” (Psalm 29:11).