So, we have spent some time looking at different aspects of faith as related to suffering. The image of the human body posed as a wonderful example with which to understand faith practically. We saw that faith can be likened to muscle. It is the wielder of our spiritual strength, and the producer of force that causes motion for our spiritual bodies. In terms of suffering, we saw that just like a gym instructor increases the weights during a workout, the Lord increases the tension in our lives so that our spiritual muscles can grow with endurance and strength.
So what is the point of this all? Why do our spiritual muscles need to grow? James actually answers this question to some degree. He encourages the believers to allow endurance to be bolted into them during times of suffering so that they may be fully developed, and lacking in nothing. The NLT version says it like this: “…let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”
That is crazy! To think that while we are still on the earth in a fallen human state, we can be perfect and complete. Is it possible? In some ways, I think we generally skimp over that piece and consider it as a figure of speech rather than an actual possibility. I mean, how can we possibly be perfect, just like God is, here on the Earth? The general consensus is that “It is impossible”….right?
Well, I dunno if it is or isn’t, but what I do know is that even Jesus was not perfect and complete, and needing nothing from birth. Lets consider this piece of scripture in Luke 2. He is explaining to Theopolis (the person he wrote the letter for) how Jesus grew as a child. After explaining how mature Jesus already was as a 12 year old boy he continues to say that “Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favour with God and man.”
In other words, Jesus was not perfect and complete. He was still lacking wisdom and favour. Spiritually of course, he was sinless, perfect in every way. Just like His Father. But in human terms, (regarding his personality and his maturity) he needed to grow and develop. And that took time. It is why he only started his ministry at age 30. He needed to be fully developed first.
And it is the same with us. Our Heavenly Father wants us to be fully developed “human” beings, able to bare His image on the Earth just like Jesus did. It is what we were created for. And it is why He will go to any and every length to ensure that we become fully developed. All we have to do, is allow endurance (His eternal life) to work in us in the midst of suffering, and we too will eventually, be perfect and complete, and lacking in nothing…
Lord, show us how suffering is designed to develop us into full human beings. Help us understand what it is all for and why being fully developed is so important to you. Give us a fresh revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ and the example he is for us. Amen