By Dr. Steve Dunn
Reading: 2 Corinthians 13:5-7
I have spent a whole lot of my 60 years going to school. 12 years for elementary through high school. Four years of college. Three years of seminary. Another almost 7 working on my Doctor of Ministry. That doesn’t even count continuing education.
In the formal educational process students are constantly being evaluated. What are your learning? Is it right things about the truly important things? How much have you learned? Have you really learned so it has become a part of you?
Generally that evaluation took the form of either tests or papers. I’ll let you on a little secret. When given the choice, I always chose papers. Even when I was working from a tightly prescribed set of questions, I found that papers (although longer to complete than a test to take) were better learning experiences and better measures of whether I understood something. Tests often were merely proof of the current state of my memory. And the pressure for tests we generally unpleasant.
To this day when I teach I lean towards papers rather than tests for my students.
People don’t like tests, but tests are a necessary part of life – and ironically, of our spiritual life. Paul writes to the Corinthians:
Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? 6 And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test. 7 Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong. Not that people will see that we have stood the test but that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed.”
Lent is a time of self-testing. Of examining our lives up against the call and the Cross of Jesus Christ. When we accepted his gift of salvation, we also committed to living the transformed life he makes possible.
Living in faith is the bottom line of new life in Christ. Take some time and examine yourself. Can people see Jesus in me?