#8.3 – The Wisdom of Suffering [James 1:1-18]: Without Defects

So, we have determined that suffering can be likened to a computer virus, in that it is designed to infect and infiltrate our system. But that the Lord, in His sovereign wisdom allows suffering so that He can use it for His glory and purposes in our lives.

What’s important for us, is to see suffering from the correct perspective. We must not fear it, but understand what it is meant for. We must see it for what it is: an attempt of the enemy to destroy us. But only an attempt. One that is not merely a “threat” but also an “opportunity.” An opportunity to see where we are weak. An opportunity for us to test our system. To see where it can still improve and change for the better. An opportunity to grow stronger and become more like Christ.

So how do we fix the defects picked up during a time of testing?

The key is Christ! He is the anti-virus. He is perfectly designed to destroy any work of the devil [see Acts 10:38]. He has been given all authority and has complete supreme power over our enemy. All we need to do is apply His life and power. We need to run God’s divine anti-virus software on our system.

But how do we do that?

Well, truthfully, this is one of the most difficult things to do. Not because it is complex and complicated, but because we humans are proud and rebellious. We are not naturally open to the things of God. Our sinful nature is at war with God. Our hearts are deceitful and subconsciously we hide from God and fight against His ways. This is important to realise. Running the anti-virus on our system does not happen naturally. It must be chosen!

Also, It is not something we can do, it is only something we can give permission for God to do. It is His anti-virus. He is the IT Manager with the software instillation files. He is the only one Who can successfully run the programme on our system. He is the author and perfecter of our spiritual systems . And if you want His anti-virus to run on your system, you must surrender. There is no other way.

So how do we do this practically?

Well, I think we can really learn from the way King David approached his defects. If you read the Psalms you will see that he was brutally honest about his weaknesses. He was not affriad of his sin. Rather, he feared God and knew that there was nothing He could do to hide from Him. He bared all of himself, (good and bad) before the One Who he knew to be all powerful and able to change the deceitful heart of a fallen man. May these words from Psalm 139 become our own as we allow God to scan our systems for viruses and simultaneously fix any defects that He may find.

Search me, O God, and know my heart!
    Try me and know my thoughts!
  And see if there be any grievous way in me,
   and lead me in the way of everlasting life!  

#8.2 – The Wisdom of Suffering [James 1:1-18]: Without Defects

Last time we looked at the fact that we are everything but perfect and flawless as we once were before sin. That we are constantly faced with under-performing, malfunctioning equipment. Some call it “The Human Condition.” But, we have also determined that God made a plan to ‘fix’ us, to make us whole again. And that plan is Jesus Christ.

So now to the Question:  What does suffering have to do with becoming perfect again?

Well, even though suffering is a ‘child’ of sin, it is also a catalyst for God’s purposes. In His sovereign wisdom it would seem that He has chosen to use suffering for His glory.

Lets look at it like this: Suffering is like a virus hacking into the files on our computers, messing with our internal systems, corrupting our files and destroying our coding. It’s a virus. One in fact, designed to destroy us, but ultimately allowed by God to help us…. But how is that possible?

Computer viruses, though made by hackers and other people with ill-intent, actually serve the purposes of development and innovation. When a new virus is made and begins infiltrating a computer system, the software community must work to fix it. And although the virus may have reeked havoc on the system, the software community is all the better for it, because the virus showed them the weaknesses in their system, the open back doors, the defects. And because the virus showed them where these defects are, they can fix them. In turn, their system becomes much stronger and much more effective and protected.

And it is exactly the same with us. Even though suffering (a virus) is brought on by our enemy, the devil (hackers) [see Job 1], and is designed to reek havoc on our lives (system), if responded to correctly, it can produce much good. If we see times of suffering as an opportunity to learn where we have open back doors and weaknesses in our system, we can actively work with God to fix them. So that once we have taken out the virus and closed all the open doors, we can be much more effective and protected, functioning on a stronger spiritual platform, and becoming more and more the person He has designed us to be….

Next time we will look at how we can work with God to fix the defects in our system revealed to us during times of suffering.

Father, thank you so much for who you are, and that you use things designed to destroy us for our good. What crazy logic. You really have a way of doing things that is so different, but effective. Teach us to trust you and to learn how you do things so that we can partner with you as a good friend would. 

#8 – The Wisdom of Suffering [James 1:1-18]: Without Defects

In the amplified version of the bible, there are little [brackets] that give extra information about a specific word or topic. They help clarify the concepts in English from the original Greek. They are very helpful and indeed do [Amplify] the meanings to give greater understanding and insight.

Right in between the words fully developed and lacking nothing in the Amplified, we find the following words in brackets – [with no defects]. In the Greek, the words that translate to “fully developed” also mean without defects. Isn’t that fascinating? Being fully developed and lacking in nothing, also means, to have no defects. To be void of mistakes and weaknesses. To be made whole and perfect. Like a diamond – Flawless.

There was once a time that man was flawless. Perfect in every way. A time when he had complete unhindered fellowship with God. A time when he knew nothing of weakness or mistakes. Nothing of suffering or trial. Nothing of depression or fear, confusion or strife. Only perfection. Only complete wisdom and knowledge. Complete understanding and maturity. But, something happened that changed that. Sin came into the world and filled man with all kinds of defects. Chinks in the perfect chain. Holes in the solid armour. Cracks in the strong foundation. And since that day, we have been plagued with defects that hamper our unity with God and harmony with life.

Like a car that won’t start. Or a fridge that doesn’t get cold. Like a printer that prints skew. Or a computer that reads “not responding”… We are faced with our defects all the time. Those things in us that just don’t work. Like our tempers flaring up, or our emotions running wild. Like our hearts going astray, or our minds thinking disruptive thoughts. We are constantly faced with our flaws. Constantly frustrated with an under-performing piece of equipment….

But surely there is hope. For if we were once perfect, without any defects, then surely there is hope to be perfect again… Surely we do not have to endure these malfunctioning bodies forever! Surely our God has made a plan! A plan to ‘fix’ us… A plan to make us whole again. A plan to remove all flaws. A plan to make us complete and perfect, without defects.

And indeed He has. He has sent Jesus Christ to be a perfect offering. A substitute for our defects. A replacement for our lack and weaknesses. A perfect and completely whole person in whom we may find perfection. A redeemer in whom we may be made whole again. A saviour by whom we may again become – Flawless.

However, the question does beg: What does suffering have to do with becoming perfect again? I mean, isn’t suffering one of the outcomes of our defects? Didn’t it enter the world because we were defect of obedience? Defect of wholehearted love for God? Isn’t suffering in direct partnership with our sinful defective nature?

These are all good and valid questions. And so, next time we will look at this a bit more closely and try to understand how exactly suffering, something born of sin, can actually help remove defects and help make us whole again…

Father, thank you for your love for us and for your determination to make us whole again. You are such a faithful and loyal Father. Show us how you use suffering to help us change to look more like your perfect son, Jesus Christ, who is flawless, and without defects.