Heathdale flower 12th May 2023

Enabling Strength

Many things in life require us to have physical and emotional stamina. As Christians, we are blessed to be able to rely on God's inner strength to bring peace and enable us to overcome difficulties.

Heathdale flower

Recently I participated in an annual cycling event known as the Great Ocean Road Classic. People can enter one of three courses: a 60Km, 145Km and a 205Km ride. I entered the 145Km ride. Riders on this course start at the coastal town of Torquay, ride out to country town of Dean Marsh, then ride over the Otway Ranges to Lorne. From there, they head back to Torquay along the Great Ocean Road.

There were in excess of 3000 participants this year, and I have to admit the challenge of completing 145km in a day is something that consistently draws me and many others to this event.

Just as my riding buddy and I crossed the finish line, we slowed down and posed for the mandatory completion photo. As we made our way towards the marshalling area a passer-by came over to congratulate us on our ride.

As we spoke, they realised that we had just completed the 145km course and was amazed that anyone could ride so far in one day. They made several comments about the need for strength and ability to ride such a distance. Their continual questioning about having enough strength perplexed me, so I asked what was meant by ‘being so strong’? I soon realised they were not only speaking about being physically strong enough to complete the course but also having the inner emotional strength to continue, especially when we needed to ride the 10 kilometres over the Otway Ranges.

Having both the physical and emotional strength is something we are all required to have at some stage in our life. This is something Jesus required after fasting in the wilderness for 40 days. He not only need to have the physical strength to survive, but He also needed the inner strength that enabled Him to face the temptations from the evil one as he was both physically and emotionally stretched.

“Now Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wild. For forty wilderness days and nights he was tested by the Devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when the time was up, he was hungry.” Luke 4:1-4 (The Message)

Followers of Jesus as they have continued life’s journey, have inevitably come across people who believe that the Christian life is one to be endured; it is a constant struggle, and therefore needs a lot of physical and emotional strength. For such people, they have formed the view that the Christian life is really difficult and one to be endured.

This perspective, I believe, has been responsible for a distortion on how God has actually called us to live.

As I reflect on this misconception, I found myself asking the question, did Jesus manifest an inner strength and peace in the midst of many and varied circumstances or did He portray life as a ceaseless struggle?

At the beginning of His earthly ministry, Jesus went into the wilderness and was tempted by the devil. After 40 days of fasting and being continually tempted, Jesus emerged from the wilderness utterly exhausted. His physical strength was depleted; His emotional resilience was stretched; one would assume that He had nothing in reserve. Yet as the account from Mark above shows, though physically and emotionally stretched, Jesus was not depleted.

Luke 4:13 states, “Jesus returned to Galilee powerful in the Spirit.” Here was inner strength to demonstrated to the highest level!

That which was intended to weaken Him served only to strengthen Him. He was strengthened by God, through the Holy Spirit. This is the same Spirit that is able to provide for you and me inner strength and calmness that each of us is able to enjoy when we call on God’s enabling. When we feel exhausted or stretched to the limit, we don’t have to feel depleted. We can have God’s blessing of strength and enabling, and it is this that can sustain us and enables us to continue.

My prayer and hope for each student and all members of this community is that we not only discover and embrace this gift of inner strength from God, but also allow it to work through us. As this is allowed to happen, we not only receive the blessing of inner strength and peace, no matter our circumstances but we are able to bless others as this becomes our daily experience.


Ross Grace
Executive Principal