What is your perspective about taking tests? Do seminary exams excite you or cause anxiety? When you study, do you study to learn and strengthen your core knowledge and understanding and skill – like exercise and training – or do you study with a goal of simply hoping to pass and improve your grade?
When Paul wrote to followers of the Way at Corinth, he commended the messengers he sent noting that they had been tested, found diligent and were worthy representatives of the churches and a glory and honor to Christ (II Corinthians 8:16-24).
He did not send weak, untested disciples, but enthusiastic, faithful, hardworking, knowledgeable, and motivated servants of the Lord.
By the time David ascended to the throne of a united Israel, he had been tested and trained by sheep, lions, bears, a giant, an unpredictably evil king, and enemies near and far. God tested Abraham regarding Isaac (Genesis 22), the nation of Israel regarding manna (Exodus 16:4-5 and Deuteronomy 8:1-3), Hezekiah regarding envoys from Babylon (II Chronicles 32:31), and even Jesus regarding Satan (Matthew 4:1-11). All of the Apostles were tested, including Paul, and James encourages considering testing a joy because it produces endurance and other good things (James 1).
Instead of fearing tests, embrace them. Let them prove to you and your professor what you know and help clarify what you don’t know and cannot yet do well. Rejoice in your victories and work to improve areas that need strengthening. Let your wins be encouraging and your losses be motivating to be better, faster, smarter, stronger, and more like Christ in every way every day.
Like the Apostle Paul, your seminary leaders look forward to commending you as tested, diligent, worthy representatives of the Gospel. So, study and learn to take tests without dread, fear, or waver and so glorify God in His process of shaping you.
K. Lynn Lewis serves as President of The Bible Seminary in Katy, Texas and is the founder and President of InspireUSA: Celebrating the Best of America®. A seasoned entrepreneur with a diverse professional background in business, education, and ministry, he is the author of Boss Like God: A Blueprint for Elite Workplace Performance (2018), Meat and Potatoes for the Soul (2013,2015), Plight (2015), and Christian Communication in the Twenty-first Century (2002), and producer of What a Dig and Shiloh Network News video series.