I remember when I was younger hearing that annoying loud sound that would come across the TV followed by a message that said, “This is a test, this is ONLY a test of the emergency broadcast system…”
I often wish I could hear that sound as I go through life and have those moments that seem difficult. Perhaps then, I would remember that THIS IS ONLY A TEST!
I don’t know too many people who enjoy test taking, yet it is an ordinary part of the world we live in. It begins at the moment we are born with an Apgar test, which quickly summarized the general health of the newborn. Tests are an integral part of our educations system. We take a test before we are licensed to drive a car, and many endure all kinds of medical tests throughout the course of life to assess proper function of human anatomy and physiology.
Even though we are so familiar with all these kinds of tests we experience in our natural lives, it is often unsettling when we encounter a spiritual test. These can come in many forms. Some examples of common tests we encounter are relational challenges with family members and loved ones, health issues, and financial concerns.
We read this from the book of James:
God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
James 1:12 NLT
A healthy perspective on the benefits of enduring a test can aid us in our perseverance during them. Three possible reasons for a test are:
- TO DETERMINE AN AREA OF WEAKNESS: I already mentioned a great example of this concept. Medical tests are often performed to identify something in the human body that needs attention. By finding the weakness, often treatment can be administered to correct the problem.
- To REFINE: Times of testing can be related to “going through the fire”. When you heat up certain metals with fire, a refining process happens causing the impurities or unwanted contents to rise to the surface so they can be removed.
- TO PROMOTE: A test is used in all education to determine the appropriateness of promotion. We advance through the school system one grade at a time with passing scores on tests. Higher education is no different, the more elite the profession the greater the difficulty of the test.
How does all of this apply to our spiritual life? First and foremost, let me state that the reason for the test may be unknown and undeserved. Some tests we encounter in this life are a result of our own actions, but many are simply a consequence of the fallen world we live in. Regardless of the reason, there can be many benefits spiritually, just as the other examples listed above.
Spiritual weakness is easily identified and impurities often rise to the surface during the seasons we walk through that are difficult. These realizations afford us the opportunity to take action and make corrections. These are the times that our character and our integrity are more fully developed.
Promotion is also critical in our spiritual walk. We are never to become stagnant, nor should we ever retire on this side of heaven. We are to be consistently transformed from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18).
I believe the enemy uses tests to defeat Christians, but God can bring good from these trials and use them to better prepare you for promotion.
So the next time you hear that annoying sound the test brings……just stop and say, “THIS IS A TEST, THIS IS ONLY A TEST!
- Remember that a test is an opportunity for you to assess what you know, and learn from where you are weak and grow!
- The greater the calling or the destiny, the more difficult the test!
- In your spiritual walk, failing a test is not the end, the teacher gives make up tests!
- Prepare for the test, expect the test, and review the answers frequently, because the teacher is often silent during the test!
- Respond to the test do not react to it!