Chills ran down my spine and numerous memories flooded my mind upon seeing the word “exam.” Throughout my years of schooling, each test I faced caused me anxiety which resulted in panic, forcefully cramming my head with information, getting nerves in my stomach, and having tension headaches. As I got closer to exam time, the symptoms intensified. No matter how hard I tried to keep calm, my fear hindered my concentration and my test scores. Some comfort came from knowing that God was with me, and other classmates experienced Test Anxiety too.
Now, after years of walking with God, I realize that school exams are only temporal. Though they can impact this life, they have no eternal value. Perhaps we often put too much emphasis on them.
In contrast, we forget or take lightly the most important exams--those related to our faith in God. The Bible speaks of tests, trials and examinations. In Exodus Moses told God’s people, “Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin.” (Exodus 20:20 NKJV ) Peter also tells us, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious that gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:7 NKJV) During the last two years my husband and I have endured financial struggles, painful injuries, sickness and even death in our family. I believe the Lord is testing our faith with fire, teaching us to trust Him even when we don’t understand. It’s hard to, as Peter says, “greatly rejoice” when faced with hardship.
God also tells us to test ourselves. In 2 Corinthians 13:5 Paul writes, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves, Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.” (NKJV) He also writes, “Test all things; hold fast to what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 NKJV) In Galatians we’re told, “But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.” (Galatians 6:4 NKJV) Also, about communion, Paul writes, “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.” (1 Corinthians 11:28-30 NKJV)
Apostle John lovingly says, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1 NKJV) He warns of false teachings that can mislead us.
Paul tells one purpose for examining and judging ourselves, “For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.” (1 Corinthians 11:31-32 NKJV)
In Lamentations 3:40-41 the Bible tells us, “Let us search out and examine our ways, and turn back to the Lord; Let us lift our hearts and hands to God in heaven.” (NKJV)
These exams in God’s word are vital to believers, and have eternal consequences. We need to take them seriously, continue examining our own hearts, and overcoming in the battles set before us.
In Revelation 12:11 John tells how believers overcame Satan saying, “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” (NKJV) John wrote down God’s letters warning seven churches in Revelation, and encouraging us today, saying, “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” (Revelation 3:21 NKJV) What an awesome reward for passing exams!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version.
Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Radmacher, Earl D., Th. D. (Editor) NKJV Study Bible, 2nd. Edition (1997, 2007), Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers, p. throughout.
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