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  • Writer's pictureMelissa Simpson

July Newsletter

I don't know about you, but I hate tests. They always made me nervous because I was afraid I hadn't studied enough and that I didn't know the material very well. I usually ended up guessing a lot. The best hope I had for a decent grade was if the teacher had a lot of true/false questions . Then I faired at least a 50/50 chance of passing, and I was a pretty good 'guesser'. After reading that 'word' you probably can guess how I did in English class. My only other possibility of passing was if it was a multiple choice quiz.

Upon graduating from college in 1985 (I squeezed a 4 year degree into 7 years), I thought my tests were all done. WRONG! Little did I know that the real tests were passed or filed throughout the whole of life, especially once I gave my heart to Jesus Christ. We, as believers in the Lord, are tested on 4 major fronts: Our MESSAGE (what we believe and then espouse from that belief system); our MATURITY LEVEL (who we are becoming based off of the beliefs we hold to be true); our METHODS (not just what we believe, but how we conduct ourselves, stemming from those beliefs) and finally, our MOTIVATION (the why for what we do). These are the continual tests of the heart - tests which God performs everyday of our life. These are also the tests we are to judge ourselves by everyday - unless (God forbid) we give up on following Jesus Christ.

The Apostle Paul told the church at Corinth to, "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? And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test." 2 Corinthians 13:5-6

So just how are we to examine ourselves? For starters, it requires a great deal of honesty and transparency. We should ask whether we are involving Jesus in our daily decisions, or if we are seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Other questions to ask would be: are we, reading God's word; going to Him in prayer; finding regular fellowship with His people (church/ small groups); are we growing in our love for both God and for all people; and are we willing to speak up (be a witness) for our beliefs.

One of the most powerful questions in the whole Bible is found in Genesis 3:9, when God was walking in the garden to have fellowship with Adam and Eve. He asked this of Adam, "Where are you?" I think about this question often in my life. You see, for some reason, self-examination is not that difficult for me. At least in the latter portion of my life. I suppose being close to God has become more preferable to me than distance from God. Like what David's worship leader, Asaph, said in Psalm 73:28, "But as for me, it is good to be near God."

Job, a man very familiar with the tests of life, asked this question of the Lord, "What is mankind that you make so much of them, that you give them so much attention, that you examine them every morning and test them every moment?" Job 7:17-18

The answer, I believe, is that God loves me so much and that He wants the very best for me at all times. The Lord knows that I am at my best when I am like Him in every way. Now, mind you, I may be a long way off from this ultimate goal (being like Jesus), but I am still taking His classes and trying my best to be His best.

Stay with it (the fight) and stay with Him. The best is yet to come!

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