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Topic: Exams (07/26/04)
TITLE: The "Exams" Of The Spiritual Life
By Doug Laird
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The purpose for an examination in the spiritual realm may be best understood by acknowledging what the purpose of a spiritual examination is NOT intended to be!
The purpose for a spiritual examination is not so that God can see if we are going to pass the test in a selected area(s) of our spiritual life. In His omniscience, He already knows where we stand in our relationship with Him at any given time.
The purpose for the examination, therefore, is not for God’s benefit, but for ours as WE see where WE stand in given area(s) in our relationship with God at any given time.
Spiritual exams come in many different forms.
They can be a “pop quiz” that can come upon us without prior notice in interaction with others via conversation or in the daily circumstances of life. “Pop quizzes” are very effective tools as they are strong indicators of our willingness & ability to “…always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have...” (1Peter 3:15 NIV).
Since we are not given prior notice of “pop quizzes”, they can serve to identify areas of our own ignorance & weaknesses.
Acknowledging our own areas of ignorance & weakness requires humility. Humility is a prerequisite for learning, especially in the spiritual realm. Humility is what makes a person teachable.
Other times there is prior notice that “exams” are going to take place. The Bible makes it clear that there are certain areas in life that are going to be a constant source of tests.
(1Cor.7:28/2Tim.3: 12/Matt.10: 36).
Determining who is to be examined is another important issue regarding spiritual examinations. With the exception of those who are in a position of authority such as parents (Eph.6: 2), the only one you are to examine in the spiritual realm is you! (2Cor. 13:5/Romans 14:4/John 21:21-23).
Just as in the secular realm, there is only one way to be prepared for the exams of the spiritual life.
As stated earlier, the first step requires the student to be a “teachable” person. This requires humility.
Once the student is prepared to receive instruction, the next step is to find a teacher who is “able to teach” (1Tim3: 2 NIV) “who correctly handles the word of truth” (2Tim 2:15 NIV).
Next, the student must apply (James 1:22) what is being taught under the post-salvation ministry of God the Holy Spirit (John 14:26). In this step/process, the spiritual life is exercised as the soul is nourished with spiritual food (John 21:15) and is purified (1John 1:9NIV) from all false religious teachings that are offered by Satan as counterfeits to the truths of the Word of God. (John 8:32).
Spiritual exams not only are useful for our self-examination, but also are the primary means in which we have the opportunity to be a “witness” for our Lord Jesus Christ.
Passing the exams of the spiritual life will not go unnoticed by those who are watching to see if we can “walk the walk as well as we can talk the talk”.
The final examination in the spiritual realm does not take place in this lifetime.
However, contrary to what “religion” implies in opposition to what the Bible teaches, this examination is not to determine if we are to “get in” to Heaven. That issue (the eternal destiny of our souls) was resolved while here on Earth. The purpose of this final exam will be to determine what (if any) eternal rewards we are to receive (or be denied) in addition to eternal life. This judgment is for believers only. (1Cor 3:12-15).
All unbelievers will have a final exam in which an “F” grade will be received. This will result in unbelievers being sent into the everlasting Lake of “F”-ire. (Rev. 20:15).
Cramming for one’s final exam as one faces death in not the way to “go” & not being prepared will insure failing the inevitable “exams” of the spiritual life here on Earth.
Spiritual edification & “exams” are a part of a life-long process.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (R) Copyright (C) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All Rights reserved.