Monday, February 6, 2012

Test Time - Be Prepared

So this past week my son had a science test. I had him study the day before, and then the day of I asked if he wanted to study a little while longer before taking it. He didn’t. He wanted to take the test and be done. I handed it to him and went on to start the girls with their school. Two minutes later I hear, “Uh, Mom? I think I do want to study first.”

Oh man. I could relate! I’ve so been there. And wouldn’t it be great when tests come our way if we could hold up our hands and say “Time out! Not prepared. Give me a minute here.”

See, we know life is full of tests, and we know where to find all the answers. But sometimes—most times—we don’t want to put in the time to learn them.

Get up early and read the Bible?

Go to church mid-week?

Sunday mornings are for coffee time, right?

Quiet prayer time = nap time.

Yeah. Why is that? I can stay awake to watch an episode of Castle, but put me at the kitchen table for my morning prayer time and I conk out cold.

And then when the test comes we're left wanting a time-out. Hold the boat! We're not ready!!

But cramming is no way to learn. The info is there one second and gone the next. Not to mention we’ve been admonished to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” (1 Peter 3:15)

Tests will come in all shapes and sizes, and we need to be ready. Some days it’s the enemy attacking us from all angles. We need to remember that “the word of God is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12) To wield this sword, we must know it! To know it, we must study it. Commit it to memory. It’s even more important than that math you thought you’d never use but still do every day. And yes, you will use the Word every day. Don’t even question it.

Other tests are of this world. Every day you’ll encounter people who don’t know God. Schools, neighborhoods, workplace…what makes you different? Why doesn’t your family watch that movie? Why do your girls dress the way they do? Why do you like that candidate? Why aren’t you fearful that the price of gas is going up again?

Something makes us different. Different in the way we live. Different in the hope we carry. Different in the joy that fills us even in adversity. But can you give a well-informed answer to the questions when they come?

I mean, if you went to the ER because you had chest pains, and the doctor stood over you with a syringe and said something to the effect of,“Yeah, I’m pretty sure this is what you need. I’ve seen it used here before, and it looked like it worked but I don’t really know the details on it. That’s okay though, I feel like it’s the right one. So just trust me.” You’d be outta that bed so fast there’d be a trail of smoke behind you.

If we want people to take us seriously, we've got to study. There's a confidence that comes when you've studied. When you know your answer and why it's right. That's no different for a Christian. Yes, we need faith for many things. But we also need to know our faith so we can share it. And sure, some of us aren’t eloquent speakers (see my hand raised), but if God can use Moses with his stutter, He can definitely use you and me. We just need to be prepared.

And we need to be nice.

Yeah. That’s right. No yelling to get your point across, no matter how much your blood may boil (election year, anybody feeling me here?). Because that admonishment from 1 Peter 3:15 actually says “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…”

So this week, I challenge you—and myself—to start studying, so when your next test comes you won’t need that time-out. You'll be ready.


  1. This is so true. We can't wait until the test or situation smacks us in the face to start to study God's Word for answers. The verse says to be prepared - make preparation. This implies some action on our part. Remember Job? He had no idea about the storm on his horizon and then boom! We have no idea what's around the corner, but we know the One who knows all. He's left His instruction manual for us to study so when that pop quiz comes we can face it.

  2. "If we want people to take us seriously, we've got to study."

    You know what I love about that statement? How it applies to so many areas in my life, but especially to faith. It's second nature for me to know I need to study, practice, WORK in order to be a good writer. But it's even more imperative that I live that out in my faith walk. A faith that thrives doesn't just happen...

    Thanks so much for the challenge and encouragement!!

  3. Paula - I know! I thought of Job a lot too while writing this. He amazes me:)

    Melissa - "A faith that thrives doesn't just happen", love that too! This was one post that challenged me in so many areas as I wrote it, too. I don't want to just say the words, I want to live them. It's not without work, is it? I got to get rid of my lazies:)!

  4. Boy, did I need this today! Thank you, Susan!


  5. I have an accountability partner? Someone to ask me, did you study today or did you let another distraction turn your head? :-) I'm in--studying here I come. (I such a nerd.)

  6. I've had a vision (thanks to my Tuesday morning Breaking Free Study) of me in my wedding dress (the bride of Christ) wielding a sword (the Word of God)... singing "We will overcome! By the blood of the Lamb and the WORD of our testimony! Everyone overcome!!!!" Yeah, I think it's my writerly imagination... at its finest. :D

  7. Yes Daph, I have been awful with the distractions lately! Time to focus:) I'm in too!

    Dawn - that's one of my all time favorite studies. I still use 2 Cor.10:5 almost daily. And I can completely see you wielding your sword in your wedding gown - that would make a great book cover! hehe:)