OK, I’ve been a university professor for a long time… I’ve got at least 35 years of teaching ministry under my belt! This is how it usually works… A class is created, course objectives or outcomes are written, supporting textbooks are chosen, a syllabus is written, classes are held, reading assignments are made, lectures are given, discussions over the material are held, assignments or projects are created, and finally tests are given. Based upon the assignments and test grades a final grade for the course is given. That’s the way it usually works… and if you asked most students, it’s those test scores they feel matter the most – they think if they pass the tests they should pass the course. So they try to keep up with the assigned reading, attend class, do their assignments, and study like crazy for the exams – especially the final exam!
But the key question is this… Is the final exam what really determines whether or not you’ve learned what you should – does it determine your mastery of the course… Or is life, and the integration of what was learned into service, employment and living REALLY the final test? Does the final grade on your transcript really reflect course mastery?
What if how we live is the “final test?”
I just finished reading Deuteronomy 8 this morning during “coffee with the Lord” and jotted this in the margin of my Bible… “Obedience is a big deal! It’s really the ‘final test’ determining whether or not we really trust, love, and reverence [or “fear”] the Lord!”
Here it is right out of the Bible…
God spoke to His people as they prepared to enter the “Promised Land” … He said, “The whole commandment that I command you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land that the LORD swore to give to your fathers. And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, TESTING YOU TO KNOW WHAT WAS IN YOUR HEART, WHETHER YOU WOULD KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS OR NOT. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” (Deuteronomy 8:1–3 ESV) And the whole chapter (and the next) reinforces that core truth… Obedience in life (flowing out of trust, love, and reverence for the Lord) is the final exam!
That’s not just an Old Testament idea either! Here’s how Jesus put it, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments… Whoever has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me!” (from John 14:15-24) And Apostle John echoed Jesus’ words, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” (1 John 5:3)
So obedience flowing out of a heart of love and trust is a big deal – Say what you will, in the course we call “Discipleship 103” it’s the “final test!” Just saying… I REALLY want to pass that course with flying colors! Every day of my life is a test!