What constitutes a time/season of testing in a Christian's life? Is it always a matter of great sacrifice which calls for painful endurance of such a nature that someone will eventually write a moving story about a super-saint who passed the test of sickness,adversity, persecution, or martyrdom? I think not. I think our American sense of exaggeration and extremism has led us to believe that a test is only a test if the probability of some kind of major harm comes into a person's life. The 'no blood - no foul' mentality has become the measure of a whether something is a test or not.
Throughout my school years (public schools, college, & seminary) I took many, many, many tests. Most of them were not do-or-die. As a matter of fact, I would hazard a guess that the number of tests which would make/break my grade were few in number. By the time I got to seminary, I did have several classes which only gave a mid-term & final so those were certainly major tests. Then again, by the time I got to seminary I had years of experience in taking tests large and small. I was prepared to face the challenge of the mid-term & final. Regardless of whether it was the weekly spelling test of 2nd grade or the Baptist History mid-term that "ate my lunch" the tests were always over materials I knew or should have known.
I wonder how many pop-quizzes and tests God sends our way every single day? How many opportunities has the Spirit given us to strengthen our faith in preparation for the big test that is out there in our future? Perhaps I ought to 'count it pure joy' when I face the daily tests of turning away from that website -- of encouraging instead of gossiping -- of looking the other way when a scantily dressed woman passes by -- of setting aside my routine to help out a neighbor I don't particularly care for in a time of need -- of praying for the person who mocks my faith instead of unleashing a sharp, biting retort -- of singing instead of griping; encouraging instead of cutting; or thanking instead of criticizing. If I were to count it pure joy that God allowed me to do these things, surely I would be better prepared to face the big test that lies before me. I would be better equipped to face trials of many kinds because I know that the testing of my faith will develop perseverance which will finish the work so that I can become mature and complete in Christ? (James 1:2-4)
What constitutes a test, any test in a Christian's life? Is it not fundamentally any situation which calls for us to live by faith in the leadership of our Lord Jesus Christ? Every day is a test. Every day is a day to live by faith. Every day is a day to count it pure joy that through his righteousness in us we can pass the test.