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Psalm 78
. . . we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. .
so the next generation would know them . . . and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Only Test that Counts

Last week the three oldest Edwards Academy kids took a standardized test. I administered the test for a group of kids from several homeschooling families with the help of my mother and mother-in-law and a few more homeschooling moms. Each day I opened our testing time with a devotional. Here's a re-writing of what I presented on Monday, the first day of testing.

How do you feel about a week of testing? Are you scared? Worried? Think it will be boring? Feel confident and sure of yourself? (We discussed this a bit.)

Is it important to score well and get a high score? (The kids gave some responses, mostly "yes.") 

No, it isn't important to get a high score. 

Does that surprise you? It isn't like high school where your SAT or ACT score is important for getting into college. No, this is a different kind of test. This test is designed to measure what you know and help your mom, your teacher, be a better teacher for you. If you get some answers wrong, it tells her what you need to work on. The most important thing is that it is accurate. Cramming and practicing each night won't help make the test an accurate measurement of what you've learned.

Still, standardized testing can be a little scary. I imagine that some of you here today are pretty nervous. Worried. Maybe you're not looking forward to this at all. You are afraid the test will be hard. Some questions will be harder than others. The test writers do that on purpose; don't worry about it. Just do your best. 

Remember, God promises to be with His believers when they face challenges. Let's read Isaiah 43:1b-3a:
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
3  For I am the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
If you are redeemed because you believe in Jesus as your Savior, you can know that God promises to be with you and will not let you be overwhelmed.

But some of you aren't worried about this week. You have an easy time with standardized testing. It isn't hard for you. You aren't afraid or worried. 

But you might be tempted in another way. You are tempted to be prideful. You're tempted to be selfish and frustrated that you have to wait for others to finish. You're tempted to think that you are special because you are good at tests.

Guess what? God doesn't measure your worth by how easy or hard school tests are for you. No, He's concerned with something much more important: your heart. God doesn't sort us out by our test scores. The only test that God has given us is one that we've already failed, isn't it? What test would that be?

It is the test of sin or obedience. Will we fall into sin? Or will we obey God? We all have sinned against God and have failed His test. It doesn't matter if you score perfectly on the standardized test this week. You're a sinner. It doesn't matter if you score poorly on the standardized test this week. You're a sinner.

But Christ died for our sins so that we could be saved. If you have believed in Christ and trusted Him as your Savior, God will welcome you into His Kingdom--not because of anything you have done. But because of God's grace in Jesus.

So whatever you're feeling about testing week, fear or confidence, each of you need to take your eyes off of your own performance and put your eyes on God. God has given us all different abilities, different strengths, but the same Jesus. Our world tells us that our value comes from our performance, but God tells us differently.

Psalm 34:1-5 says,
1 I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2 My soul makes its boast in the LORD;
let the humble hear and be glad.
3 Oh, magnify the LORD with me,
and let us exalt his name together!
4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
It doesn't matter if you score perfectly. Your soul should make it's boast in the Lord. The only thing that you can be proud of is what the Lord has done for you. 

If doesn't matter if you score poorly. Those who look to Him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. Look to Jesus and you do not need to be ashamed.

Scriptures from ESV, emphasis added. Image by Amy Edwards. Want to know more about administering standardized tests for homeschoolers? Click here.


Sharon said...

Wow, that's powerful! I hope the mothers were able to listen in for the devotions as well.

~ Sharon

Anonymous said...

How wonderful! I bet those children felt so much more confident taking the test after that discussion. I know as a homeschooling mom, it would have helped me, too. :-)

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