Monday, May 8, 2017

Being Tested

“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12 NIV)

For college students across the nation, exam time is starting or will soon begin.  The only excitement this brings is it portends the end of the semester.  Otherwise, it is something they endure.  It is just a necessary part of the college experience.  

Exams are ideally a way to judge a student’s grasp of the subject.  It’s one thing to show up for class, but has the student learned the material?  A professor can only know that through a test.  

Much to the chagrin of students, I am sure, tests don’t end with their college careers.  While formal tests aren’t necessarily given, when a graduate takes a job, her ability to do the job well is the test.  Rather than getting grades, you get paid for doing the job—for passing the test.  
All through the Scriptures there are references to God’s people being tested.  The Israelites were tested in the desert, as was Jesus.  Job was tested.  Peter was tested. Paul writes of being tested and testing those with whom he was working.  The goal of these tests was the same: to discover the veracity of people’s faith.  Were they truly followers of God?  Was their any depth to their convictions or were they just “fair weather” believers?  

Just as professors give exams to reveal the depth of knowledge of their students, God tests us to reveal the depth of our faith.  Is it real?  If it is real, how deep and resilient is it?  

Tests can be humbling and they can also be exhilarating, depending on what they reveal.  Jesus, Job, and Paul passed their tests and were strengthened by them.  Peter was humbled by his failure.  Yet, his humiliation later led to his redemption.

Throughout your life, know that God will test you.  He wants to see, and for you to see, the genuineness and depth of your faith.  You may not enjoy them, but they are a necessary part of your spiritual development and an opportunity to see you much you have grown.  

© Jim Musser 2017

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