Increasing your spiritual strength

“If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.”
–Prov. 24:10

How do you increase strength?

Exercise. Repeat the same motion again and again—even when it isn’t easy. Then you simply increase resistance incrementally over time. In other words, you practice the actions you need to use when that day of adversity comes.

Isaiah says,

“Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.”
–Isaiah 40:28–31

How do you keep from fainting in the day of adversity? You wait on the Lord. You spend time at his feet with your Bible open, listening and praying—seeking to know him as you would a close friend or loved one.

If you feel your strength is small, it’s time to regularly exercise your spiritual eyes to see & ears to hear, so when the day of adversity strikes, you can echo the words of Habakkuk when he says, “God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.” (Hab. 3:19).

And that strength will be larger than you ever imagined because it emerges from your steadfast relationship with Jesus.

Growth takes time…

I feel like there’s a mountain to conquer in my life at the moment. Slightly discouraged, I mentioned something about it to my wife (we’ve already been talking about it and making headway in the past couple weeks—finding our next step and taking it, then the next, then the next).

She responded, “It will take time. It took us time to get here, and it’s going to take time to get there. But we’re moving forward and we’re not where we were.”

I’m reminded of the many “Overnight Success” stories that are out there, and how none of them are truly an overnight success. We tend to only see the big defining moment where they’re suddenly successful and showing up everywhere but nobody knew about them before last week. But if you ask them, they’ve usually been at it for years.

Moses showed up with a handful of plagues and suddenly brought an end to generations of slavery—but God had been been working behind the scenes to make it happen before Moses was even born. Did you know he was 80 when he approached Pharaoh? (Ex. 7:7).

Noah had a massive boat when the floods came and rescued all the animals. But did you forget that it took him a century to build it, while others looked-on and laughed?

A young boy, David, showed-up on the battlefield to face a giant and in only a moment took him down. But we have no idea the many days spent protecting his father’s sheep, facing down lions & bears, or practicing his aim with the sling.

And Joseph: a prisoner one night, second in command of a nation the next—saving an entire region from an extended, deadly famine. But do we forget this followed 13 years of holding onto God’s promise with integrity while a slave or imprisoned?

The list goes on and on. For many of the great stories of the Bible there were years and years of faithfulness that occurred in the lives of our heroes before God even called them to whatever it was they did. Ultimately, God was the author of each of their successes, and we know both from experience & countless references in Scripture that he is incredibly patient.

All that to say, keep at it. Open God’s Word, day after day. Take the next step in front of you. Become familiar with the term “longsuffering,” and what it means to be Steadfast. Spiritual growth takes time.

He is faithful. And before you know it, you’ll look back and wonder at how quickly you got where you are.

What’s the next step?

  • Read today’s Bible reading?
  • Choose a Bible reading plan?
  • Spend time in prayer?
  • Ask a friend how their walk with God is going?
  • Find a small group or Bible Study?
  • Start a small group or Bible Study?
  • Ask someone to mentor you?
  • Reach-out to disciple another person?
  • Begin tithing?
  • Sign-up to serve at your church?
  • Sign-up to serve in your community?
  • Find a church home?
  • Tell someone what God is doing in you?
  • Get baptized?
  • Pray with your spouse/family/friend?
  • Write down what God is teaching you?
  • Reconcile with someone?
  • Ask someone for help?
  • Offer to help someone else?
  • Memorize a passage of Scripture?
  • Start fasting?
  • Stop and worship outside of the Sunday morning context?
  • Encourage someone?
  • Revisit a book of the Bible/a teaching/an old journal?

Well, which is it?
What are you going to do about it?

“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

“Did you hear me?”

I snap out of tunnel vision, look away from the screen (Xbox controller in hand), and find my wife standing before me, slightly annoyed. “I’m sorry, what?”

We’ve all seen this scenario play out before.

Or with my children: “Pick-up your stuff.” Only seconds later, “Did you hear me?… Then why is your stuff still sitting there?”

In both instances, the one being addressed had perfectly good ears—fully capable of hearing—but the message never penetrated. Several times in the Gospels, Jesus is quoted as saying, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:9), usually after sharing a parable or hard teaching. He wanted the message to actually get through.

Are we going to church, week after week, Sunday after Sunday, and hearing the truth of God’s Word but never actually hearing it? Are we regularly taking the time to dig deep—struggle even—in order to understand what God is saying through a particular passage of Scripture?

Or is our faith more akin to the young couple on a date at the table next to you; one is trying to carry the entire weight of their relationship, while the other has his nose stuck in his smart phone?

“Lord, give me ears that hear. Eyes that see. A mind of understanding. And a soft heart that responds.”

When it takes longer than you were hoping.

Occasionally, I get this feeling of unrest and nothing I do seems to fix it. There’s no apparent cause, I just get this sort of… ache or longing. It happened earlier this morning and I couldn’t focus on anything.

Until, I realized I hadn’t spent time with God in the past few days.

I’m currently working my way through another Flectio Journal and after looking at the dates thought, “I probably should’ve about filled this book by now.” Sure enough, had I been faithfully reading everyday I would’ve filled this 40 day journal yesterday. I’m on page 15.

Now I felt defeated. However, the point of all of this is simply to spend time with God, and each day is a step forward. I grudgingly turned to my next reading in Isaiah and picked-up where I left-off.

“Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters…” –Is. 55:1

“Why do you spend… your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me…
Incline your ear, and come to me;
hear, that your soul may live…” –Is. 55:2–3

“Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near…” —Is. 55:6

Suddenly, that feeling of unrest? Gone. The sense of defeat? Removed. It’s not about completing a task or getting through a number of readings in that same number of days. It’s about building a relationship and spending some time with the Father who loves you.

And since I wrote about it on page 15, I can actually look back and see : Not only am I one step further in my journey but even if I forget what God has said over the years, I can read first-hand about His faithfulness to me and get a quick refresher on what I’ve learned (regardless of how long it’s taken).

I believe the Bible can change you.

I believe the Bible can change you.

This is at the heart of everything for Flectio. No tool or resource will ever bring about the changes you need in your life the way humbling yourself before Almighty God can.

He created you. He’s the original designer. He knows what you were created for. We’re broken because of sin and we can’t fix ourselves, so He did what we couldn’t: through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ, the Creator went out of His way to bring us back to Him, washed us clean of our sin, and adopted us as children in His glorious kingdom. So don’t you think He wants to help you? And after everything He’s done, don’t you believe He’s more than capable to make it happen?

But it doesn’t just happen. We need to come, willing and humble before Him—regularly. Sometimes that’s difficult, which is why Flectio desires to help; by offering you tools and resources which encourage you to intentionally engage God through His Word.

I believe the Bible can change you. And because I believe it so strongly, it starts with me. I need to spend time in humble submission, regularly.

Before any of us can truly make a God-sized impact, we have to make the commitment—ourselves—to spend time in His Word with an open heart and ears that hear.

The imperfect start is the perfect way to start.

The imperfect start is the perfect way to start.
Sometimes in life you look back at a mess and decide to start over. Do this enough and you find it harder and harder to begin until you know can get it right.

For something really important? If you’re anything like me, you’ll stall by refining the idea. Eventually, it’ll reach the point where it needs to be so perfect reality could never live up to the dream—a failure before you even start.

Let’s call this, “perfection paralysis.”

Over the years, I’ve discovered starting something new is one of the hardest things in the world. Fear pounces and the “what if’s” run amuck. You try to get all your ducks in a row, but as the military saying goes, “No plan survives contact with the enemy.”

Let’s call this one, “Inertia.” Remember Newton’s laws of physics? An object at rest tends to stay at rest?

In numerous verses throughout Scripture, the Bible instructs us to “wait on the Lord.” I’m not disagreeing—in fact, I’d encourage we wait on the Lord before taking action much more often. Here, I’m talking about when we already know what God wants us to do.

For instance, we know God wants us to spend time with Him through His Word. Yet, we wait around for the perfect time to start (which for some reason always seems to be Monday), or we have to find the perfect Bible reading plan. You might even be stalling because you have an empty journal sitting in front of you and you don’t know exactly what you should write.

The imperfect start is the perfect way to start.

Let’s go back to inertia: it also means an object in motion tends to stay in motion. So when you know what the right thing to do is, you should dive in and do it. You can always edit and refine as you go—in fact this actually helps you better track your progress later on.

What are you waiting for? START!


We don’t exactly use this word regularly in conversation. Years ago, I was reading a familiar passage and it struck me because I was expecting a different word. Psalm 51:10 in the NIV says, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” I was used to hearing, “…and renew a right spirit within me.” In the days following, the more I thought about it the more I began to see that word all over scripture, often in regards to God’s steadfast love for us.


There was something about it which resonated in me, like a secret ingredient I’d been missing for years in my life. It means, “resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering” (according to Google, anyway). also defines it as, “fixed in direction,” or, “firm in purpose.”

In my walk with Christ, things often felt seasonal; I’d be close to God for a time then there’d be a long stretch where I simply went through the motions, unthinking & unintentional. After a while, God felt more like a stranger so I’d jump right back into the Word to feel close to Him again—until I wasn’t. My faithfulness seemed to come slowly in distant waves. You certainly couldn’t define my relationship as “resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering.”

Steadfast. It’s a sailing term, used to describe an intense focus and consistent progress toward your destination—regardless of what the sea throws at you. It means allowing nothing to knock you off-course or slow you down. Even if progress isn’t exactly fast, it can still be steadfast. Related words include: constant, faithful, persevering, relentless, single-minded, true, or unflinching.

This word kickstarted a movement of God in my life which directly influenced the birth of Flectio. It’s a word I hope comes to define the mentality of Christ followers all over the world—most especially those who read these articles or use our Bible study resources. To be honest, it’s a word I hope comes to describe me, even if it isn’t referenced directly. I hope after I’m gone it’s how I’m remembered by others: steadfast in the pursuit of God, fixed in direction & persevering relentlessly, single-minded, faithful, and constant.

Can you imagine? What would it look like if God had just a handful of truly steadfast followers, today?

What would it look like if one of them… was you?

What should I read?

Next to having the discipline to consistently spend time in God’s Word everyday, this is the most difficult obstacle I run into with Bible reading:

“What should I read?”

After all, there is no perfect formula; no step-by-step program for everyone to follow when it comes to a daily “quiet time.” Once you get the ball rolling here, it no longer becomes an issue—at least until whatever you’re reading comes to completion, then you’re back at square one asking that very same question again.

Since there is no perfect answer to this question for all people, at all times, in all circumstances, I simply want to offer some guidance to help direct you in getting started (or for many of you, to pick back up and continue). First, a couple of ground rules:

Read the Bible.

It may seem obvious, but for some, devotional time consists of reading the great classic writers, or some Christian authors’ well articulated thoughts. As supplemental reading, this can certainly enhance our understanding of Scripture, but the reality is we must continually immerse ourselves in the Truth of God’s Word more than anything.

It can be difficult, at times uncomfortable, and maybe even a little confusing, but there is a danger when we would rather read books about the Bible than read the Bible itself. Only God’s Word is “living and active” (Heb. 4:12), breathed-out by God and useful for “teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness” (1 Tim. 3:16), and only God’s Word will not “return empty” (Is. 55:11).

Have a plan and stick to it.

This isn’t a daily horoscope for random instruction on making it through the day. This is an investment in your relationship with God the Father which takes time, consistency, putting pieces of a larger story together, looking at context, and simply being present—ready to learn.

If we open our Bible to the passages we think we need everyday, then we’re trying to feed ourselves rather than allowing God to offer us the “daily bread” He knows we actually need. Have you ever let a child pick their meals? They’ll go for the candy and ice cream every time—it’s not healthy.

And there’s real danger to opening your Bible to a random page, blinding pointing to a verse, and taking it out of context to apply in your own life. What happens when you’re in a tight spot and happen across a passage like Proverbs 31:6: “Give strong drink to the one who is perishing, and wine to those in bitter distress;”? I highly doubt alcohol will solve the problem.

So what should I read?

If you’ve never had a regular quiet time before, I’d encourage you to start with a resource like “Our Daily Bread.” The benefit to something like this is you get a solid variety of Scripture passages and there’s no longer a reason to ask, “What should I read today?” They give you a passage to read, some additional thoughts or commentary on that passage, even other references to dig deeper. For a beginner, or even someone who feels they need to go back to the basics, this is a great resource and you can subscribe to a print booklet in the mail (or get them in bulk for your church), daily emails, or download their mobile app.

Once you’re ready for something a little deeper, there’s a million options. The default everyone seems to jump to, and the one the internet seems to think you’re looking for when you search Google for help, is to read the Bible in a year. Personally, I’d hold-off on this one. It’s a serious challenge and takes some radical discipline. I believe everyone needs to hammer through the entire Bible at some point, but the “Bible in a year” is such a tall order I think most end up biting-off more than they can chew. When you’re ready, come back to this one… And even then, you may want to consider another alternative (I’ll revisit this one in a future post).

If a basic devotional isn’t what you’re looking for, and you’re not at a point where you want to read the Bible in a year, here’s a few options to try next:

Read through entire books of the Bible, a section or chapter at a time.
This is my current method. It sets you up to look at everything in context of the passages around it, and it’s pretty easy to know what to read from day to day. The downside is once you finish whatever book you’re on, you’re back to the question, “What do I read now?” Here’s how I deal with it:

Begin praying and asking God to direct you in what to read next. Do a little research on books of the Bible:

What topics/themes do they cover?
Who were they written to?
What’s the overarching message of a particular book?
Often, your Bible will have introductions to each book which cover these questions, or there’s a fantastic, free video resource called “The Bible Project,” which offers brief video illustrations of this type of thing. Then ask yourself:

What haven’t I read recently?
What themes or stories do I wish to know more about?
What’s something I’ve come across in my current reading that another book of the Bible can shed more light on?”
What do I sense God may be trying to tell me?
I’ve found after praying & digging, the Holy Spirit usually brings a particular book or section of books to mind again and again—this is probably what you should focus on. Be sure whatever book of the Bible you choose (whether reading a chapter a day, or a section from heading to heading each day) will at least give you a good chunk of time without having to ask “What do I read, now?” Then, as you find yourself approaching the end of your plan, take the last few days to pray, research, and go through this process again so you’ve got a plan in place for what comes next before your current plan ends.

Some options to get you started:

Read one of the 4 Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. Since they all cover the life of Jesus, I find it’s good to keep coming back to these after reading something else for a while. Anytime I read the book of Luke, I tend to follow it up with the Book of Acts, since it’s a continuation to the story written by the same author.
Read a Psalm everyday. There’s 150 chapters, so this will get you through almost half the year and there’s a great mix of themes geared at who God is, praising Him, and calling out to Him in times of trouble.
Read a Proverb everyday. There’s 31 of these, so they match up really well with the calendar. Simply figure out what day it is, and then read the corresponding chapter of Proverbs. There’s a ton of wisdom here, and no matter how many times you read it, something new always manages stand out.
Read letters from the New Testament. Some are longer, but most are short so consider combining a few in your plan if you need to.
Read one of the first 5 books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, or Deuteronomy. These are the books of the Law that get referenced again & again throughout the entire rest of the Bible, so it’s good to keep coming back to these.
Read a particular major prophet or piece of wisdom literature. Books like Job, Ecclesiastes, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, or Daniel. There may be a lot of judgement or doom & gloom here, but there’s also some very powerful truth that’s still relevant to us today.
Read a minor prophet. These are the ones we typically skip over or their names are hard to pronounce, but like the major prophets there’s still truth here we shouldn’t ignore. Again, some are long & some are short so consider combining a few, especially if they deal with similar parts or places of history.
Read what your church is studying
Week after week your pastors have been hard at work compiling a message they believe God desires those in their community need to hear. There’s nothing wrong with digging deeper or reflecting on what you’ve already been told, and there are huge benefits for your local church body when everyone is studying the same stuff, together.

So this Sunday, take note of the passages your pastor teaches on, and throughout your week spend time reading them again or dig into the cross-references of other related passages. I can’t tell you how often my pastor says, “We don’t have time to look at this today, but over in this passage of Scripture…” write that passage down or text yourself so you can go back and look at it later in the week. Some of your churches will put the teaching audio or videos online, offer study guides for more in-depth digging, or possibly even a bible reading plan—use these! Plans:
Theres a ton of pre-made plans for just about anything at (formerly, the YouVersion Bible app). Some come with additional commentary, some have videos that go with them, and some are literally just the passages of Scripture. There are so many available, and many are put together by solid Biblical teachers or popular churches. If you download the mobile app and sign-up for a log-in you can track where you are in each reading, reschedule if you miss a few days, and when you finish one simply go find another. You’ll probably be asking “What should I read?” pretty regularly doing it this way, but there’s always plenty of good stuff to pick-up and keep going. I find this beneficial when I’m between my own readings and haven’t quite landed on where to go next.

Quit stalling and get reading!

There’s so many other options available, and soon Flectio will even have some of our own reading plans to offer you. The biggest thing is to simply get started! If whatever you’re doing isn’t working, shift gears and try something else. Go to the people in your church or small group and find out what others are reading—better yet, invite someone to join you and go through it together so you can talk about what God is showing you.

Whatever you do, as you’re spending time in God’s Word I encourage you to write down what God is showing you each day. You’ll be able to see your spiritual progress, look back at God’s faithfulness, and never forget what you’ve learned. Any notebook or journal will do but if you’re one of those people who wants something specific, check out one of our Flectio Journals.

*All resources listed in this post are simply things I’ve used or come across and found to be helpful. Neither Flectio nor myself have been paid to endorse these other brands, websites, or products. It’s just old-school, word-of-mouth sharing.

This post first appeared on If you’re seeing it on another website, we would appreciate if you clicked through to the original article or visit to see what Flectio has to offer.

For everyone ready for something more.

Flectio is for people who don’t want to be spoon-fed a “hand-me-down” religion. It’s for those who recognize, “I—alone—am responsible for pursuing God.”

It’s for the men and women who desire to initiate his/her own transformation by intentionally pouring over God’s Word, hungering for righteousness.

These tools and articles aren’t for people who want to wait for the safe & easy bandwagon to hop-on. It’s for those who want to be used by God so badly, you can’t sit still.

Flectio is for the outliers, ready to stand against the impossible. It’s to help the hearers become doers and the doers to speak and act with the authority they can only receive by spending regular time in humble submission at God’s feet.

God has won the battle, but we still have to suit up. You don’t need a certificate or a position of power, you just need God’s active hand reshaping your heart.

This is for you. It’s time to step-up.