even when I was in high school, I couldnít run forever. If I ran hard enough, and long enough, eventually, my legs, or my lungs, or my heart would reach their limit and I would collapse. Usually, after Iíd passed the finish line, but not always.

And what the prophet Isaiah is saying in this passage is that even those who are in the prime of their life; the very picture of health and vitality Ė even they stumble and fall. Even they grow tired and weary. There are no supermen, whether youíre talking about physical strength, or emotional strength, or spiritual strength. Even the strongest among us will eventually falter; even the healthiest will stumble and need to be lifted up. And if thatís the case, then how much more do the rest of us need to acknowledge our need of Godís grace. In the Scriptures, we see that even Godís greatest saints needed his grace and strength. For example, the apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians that,

"I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation . . . . I can do everything through him who gives me strength." Ė Philippians 3:13

"Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints . . . I do wish, brother, that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ." Ė Philemon 1:7, 20

If even Paul needed to be renewed and encouraged in order to fulfill his calling, then surely we do as well. No matter what God has called us to do, whether itís great or small; whether our deeds are publicly recognized or known only to Him, we cannot do it apart from a continuous, ongoing infusion of his strength and power. As Christ taught us in John chapter fifteen:

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." Ė John 15:5

Itís really that simple. If we are drawing our strength from Christ, we can do anything. If not, we can do nothing .Now, perhaps things are going fairly well for you right now, and youíre not aware of any particular weariness or stress. Thatís wonderful. But I assure you that storms will come. And itís far better to develop the habit of relying on God in times of peace and prosperity, than to find yourself suddenly in need of His strength, and have no idea how to receive it.

The second point Iíd like to make is that the source of the renewal and the refreshing we need is God. Listen closely, because this is key. Not God plus, but God alone. His grace is absolutely sufficient. Nothing else is necessary. As Paul tells us this in his second letter to the Corinthians:

"To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, íMy grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.í" Ė 2 Corinthians
Babatunde Odunsi
February 3, 2007
Excellent sermon. I found it very helpful.