“The Big Test”

            Anyone who has had a brush with education, whether it be High School or College, knows about tests. They aren’t exactly looked forward to. What’s worse is a test in a subject which you are weak in. You think to yourself, “If this were an English test, I’d ace it. But, instead, it’s a Math test. I’m going to fail!”

            Isn’t that a bit like life? As Christians, we’re tested all the time. And sometimes, there are certain tests that come along which are in an area that is pretty sensitive to us. We mull, “If I was struggling with finances, I’d be okay. But my health? Now, that is just too much to take.” Or, vice versa. Everyone has their weak spot and everyone dreads a test in that area.

            The question then is this: Why are we tested in the first place? And why are these tests in such difficult areas of our lives? The Bible has much to say about tests. Consider the following verses:

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” – 1 Peter 1:6-7

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” – James 1:3-4

And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” – Romans 5:3-5

            Now, what do these verses tell us about trials?

1.      Tests prove that our faith in God is genuine, which brings glory and honor to Christ’s name (1 Peter 1:6-7).

2.      Tests produce endurance (also translated as perseverance and patience), which perfects our faith (James 1:3-4).

3.      Tests produce character and hope in God, which God gives us through the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:3-5).

 But, wait, there’s more!

“We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.” – James 5:11

“For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews 4:15-16

            Christians should:

4.      Remember the example of Job and trust that God has a purpose for everything; He has our best interest at heart, especially through a test (James 5:11).

5.      Find strength and encouragement in Jesus Christ, who was also tested. We have the liberty to come to Him for help in our time of need (Hebrews 4:15-16).

            Five verses; five wonderful truths to live by. When a test comes our way, labeled in our weakest subject, we shouldn’t fear. No doubt, we may a little. But, if we apply these five passages to our lives when we face a trial, we are equipped with a few tools that can help us. Think of it as receiving a calculator during a math test or a dictionary and thesaurus during an English test. The test may still be difficult, but we’re better off than before!

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