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How not to commit idolatry in your finals

by on May 3, 2010

It’s that time of the year again, when tests that make up 50% of our grade show up and haunt our thoughts. It’s the end of the year (or semester)! We all know the feeling. I can personally remember tons of butterflies in my stomach, hours of staring at notes, sleepless nights, and lots of caffeine during my days of finals/midterms.

But how do we not let our tests control us? More importantly, if you are a follower of Jesus, how do you not commit idolatry with your finals? What does that even mean?

What is idolatry?

Biblically, idolatry is any time something becomes more important to us than God.  You can see this in Romans 1:25: “…they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator…” The truth of God that we exchange is that there is anything more important, more pleasurable, more wonderful, more beautiful, more worthy than God is.

So idolatry in finals would be any time we let our tests/studying control more of our lives than Jesus.  Idolatry happens any time we are more worried about the tests than following Jesus and obeying him.  It happens when we believe the lie that getting a good grade on a test will be better than knowing more of Jesus and following him.

How does idolatry in finals look?  Extremely stressed out students.  Students that treat their friends and others horribly because they are so caught up in their tests instead of concerned with loving them.  Students that seem to lose all joy and hope at the thought of failing a final.  You can probably think of times you have seen people like this, or worse, when this has been you.

So how do we avoid idolatry in finals?

This isn’t a simple thing, because like any sin struggle it is an inner matter of the heart.  But let me offer a few thoughts that may help:

  1. Remember your true worth/value (Romans 8:31-39)– For a Christian, your worth and value is not found in how you perform at anything, including tests.  The world will say you are worth more if you graduate with honors, but Jesus doesn’t.  Your worth and value is wrapped up in him and his final work on the cross.  God’s love and approval of you now is unshakable because of what Christ is done, and will not change no matter how well or poorly you do on your tests.
  2. Remember where true joy comes from (Psalm 16:11)“In your presence is FULLNESS of joy, at your right hand are pleasures FOREVERMORE.” For a follower of Jesus, we need to remember that more joy than is imaginable is found in God in Christ.  It is tempting to believe the lie that we will be far happier if we get better grades and graduate with certain honors, but the truth is that that joy will not sustain us.  Only the fullness of joy in Jesus can.  And we already have it!
  3. Remember the sovereignty of God (Eph 2:10, Proverbs 16:9)– It is humbling to remember and believe that WE are not ultimately in control of our lives.  God has already prepared for his children good works for them to accomplish.  He is the one who leads us and directs us.  Are we so prideful to believe we can screw up all his plans?  It is wonderfully freeing to believe God is sovereign in your tests so that you can try your best, and understand that God will lead you where he wants you, no matter how you do on your finals.

Also, PRAY!  Bring your tests before God.  He is with us.  Hopefully these thoughts are helpful to you as you move into this season.  Blessings!



From → Deep Thoughts

One Comment
  1. Chris permalink


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