Every good teacher appreciates the value of tests. Unfortunately, students don't usually feel the same way about them. Most pupils see testing as something instructors do TO them, not FOR them.
Actually tests are not for the benefit of the teacher only. Well-designed tests provide both the teacher and the student an opportunity to see what's been learned, and what still needs to be learned. They reveal reality. As students, they show us where we are in the process of grasping material, developing skills and growing character. Knowing that a test is coming can prompt preparation. It can motivate us. It “incentivizes” study, practice, attention and effort to learn.
While it's unrealistic to expect people to be thrilled about the promise (or warning) of a test, hopefully, over time we come to appreciate them. Understanding the benefits of testing marks a turning point in life. It indicates a level of maturity. When we see our tests as a part of our education and growth, and make a conscious decision to learn from them, we're on the way to wisdom.
Testing is not only necessary for intellectual and academic growth, it's also a vital part of spiritual growth. God gives us testing moments to help us see where we are in our character development and spiritual maturity. Situations happen every day that test our love for God and our love for people.
In these testing times we can discover some very important information about ourselves. How we respond (or react) to our tests reveals where we really are in terms of spiritual maturity and commitment to God. There's no fooling a test! It gives us an objective measure of our spiritual state — good, or not-so-good.
For example, our daily spiritual tests show us the level of discipline we have (or lack) with our words. They help us see how diligent we are (or aren't) in controlling and directing our thoughts and attitudes. They give us insight into how we're handling (or not properly handling) our emotions. They reveal generosity or stinginess, graciousness or meanness, gratitude or grumbling, humility or pride, willingness to own issues or denial and blame-shifting, quickness to forgive or grudge-bearing, responsiveness or resistance and rebellion. You get the point. Our daily tests give us lots of important information about ourselves, if we're willing to pay attention.
What are your tests telling you? Let's pay close attention to our spiritual test results. They're great teachers, if we're listening!