Monday, May 4, 2009

Passing the Test

This time of year, high school and college students are hurriedly cramming for their exams. They’re reviewing their notes, taking practice tests, and quizzing each other. If they’re smart, they realize that cramming is only good up to a point. Sleep deprivation the night before a test, trying to force more equations into your brain, is rarely a good plan. Instead of cramming the night before, it’s best to begin preparing for the final exam the first day of class. From the moment you crack open your textbook for the first time or put your pen to that fresh sheet of notebook paper, you’d better be getting ready for your final.

Many who are done with our formal education are tempted to think that final exams are the stuff of yesteryear. This is not so. One day, we will all sit for our final examination, and our Instructor will determine whether we’ve passed the test. That final judgment will determine our eternity. Can we afford to fail? How can we be sure we pass the test?

When you receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, asking Him to take up residence in your heart, wash your sins away, and make you a brand new person, you take your first steps into eternal life. This is like the first time you crack open that textbook. You’ve enrolled in the course. But the Instructor also wants to see that by the time you get to the final exam, you’ve actually learned something.

The final exam is all about love. It’s about whether we’ve learned to love one another, to lay down our lives for one another, even as Christ has done for us. It’s easy to give lip-service to love, but harder to follow through. Jesus calls us to follow His example, to do what He did. He expects to find us faithful. He expects us to not just pass by the skin of our teeth—He expects us to get an A.

One of the ways you can ensure an A in the class is showing the Instructor that you’re interested. When I was in high school Spanish class, you could tell which students were actually interested in learning, and which ones were simply fulfilling a requirement. Those who were only there because it was required would answer a question by saying, “No speak-o Spanish-o.” I was different. I actually wanted to learn. As a result, I did well academically, but I also developed a great relationship with my teacher. How many Christians are in church, not because they’re really interested in the course, but because they’re just trying to fulfill a requirement? When asked a question, they’ll say, “No speak-o Christianity-o.” If you actually want to learn, you’ll make an effort to learn. You’ll not only pass the test—you’ll ace it. And along the way, you’ll develop a great relationship with the Instructor. And who wouldn’t want to be the Teacher’s pet?

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