Whether you’re just starting, or you’re nearly free from the stress of exams, we will almost all inevitably get caught up in the revision rut, the exam block where it feels like there’s no point in carrying on or we just can’t make it through to the end.
Don’t give up!
Paul prays for those in Ephesus in Ephesians 3 saying:
“For this reason I kneel before the father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” – Ephesians 3:14-21
This is such an incredible prayer, but in this and throughout the whole of the New Testament we are reminded that Christ dwells in our hearts. Jesus loves us and this unconditional love he has for us is completely beyond our comprehension. In the last post, we were reminded that he is always there for us like a shepherd who loves and cares for his sheep. Our identity is not in our successes or failures, whether or not our exams are failures or not, but our identity is in the one who lives in us, Jesus!
Even though it’s so hard, it’s important for us to remember to not allow these exams to take over or be the boss of us, for it is only the fact that we have been saved by Jesus that defines us, not anything else, and especially not what questions we answered correctly or not in a test.
I’m an absolutely terrible runner, even though I have been training as a triathlete for the past few years, I love running, but for those of us who do, there always seems to get to a point where we don’t think we can go any further. Especially when running in groups, being the one that can’t keep up and is constantly ready to give up is how I feel, especially when we’ve been on a long run.
Both in our faith and in our worship for God, whatever it may be, from working at our exams, to sharing the gospel, we are encouraged to keep going and never to give up. Hebrews 12:1-3 says:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” – Hebrews 12:1-3
University for me has felt like one massive run, with hurdles and joys along the way and sometimes I can feel like I can’t go on or make it through the week. I’d like to encourage us all though, that we can do it, whether or not we think we can and the Bible has so much encouragement to say on pushing on with however we’re living for him.
This idea of running towards a prize is echoed throughout the New Testament and it encourages us to keep persevering with these present trials and challenges, working for the Lord in everything we do, because there is a prize coming, not necessarily an earthly prize, but something even better. When we’re anxious about exams, not knowing whether we can carry on, why not push forward towards this incredible reward.
“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”- Hebrews 10:35-36
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” – 1 Corinthians 9:25
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and Sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining on toward what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:12-14
When we feel like exams are taking over, or that we don’t think we can get through them and want to give up, why not try and remember some of these verses, that when working for Jesus, he wants us to keep going, to run the race and keep persevering.
Let’s aim to try and follow what Paul was doing, forgetting what is behind and straining on toward what is ahead, pressing on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus.