Preparing for and taking examinations

We all take tests of one kind or another -- driving tests, professional certification tests, swimming tests, and, of course, final examinations for high school or college. In different ways, each of these requires us to demonstrate our intelligence.

When we're preparing for a test of some kind, it's helpful to know the source of true intelligence. Christian Science, in harmony with the Bible, teaches that God, the one creative Mind, is the only genuine intelligence of the universe. Man, as God's spiritual image, partakes of the divine nature because he reflects God. This means that as we understand our true being to be spiritual and inseparable from God, Mind, we become better able to express divine qualities such as wisdom, understanding, and intelligence.

Christ Jesus knew that he could never be separated from God and that divine power was the source of his works and teachings. Once when he was teaching in the temple, ''the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned? Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.'' n1 His steadfast love for and reliance on God gave him an authority that far exceeded that of the scribes and Pharisees, who were better educated in a formal sense.

n1 John 7:15, 16.

Perhaps we're facing a test that we dread - one that may seem beyond our capacities. Like Jesus, we can trust God. We can rely less on a personal sense of intelligence, which would tell us that our IQ is limited or that we have never done well in math or English or whatever other subject we're worried about. To believe that intelligence is found in a material brain, which is necessarily limited, would defeat us even before we've taken the test! Instead we can pray to know that God, good, is the only Mind and that as His image we can never cease to reflect His attributes. This prayer will enable us to set priorities both before and during the exam so we don't spend too much time on one thing and not enough on another. Seeking to express wisdom will help to keep us from wearing ourselves down physically, from making careless errors, and from accepting the temptation to change answers unnecessarily. With the Psalmist we can pray, ''In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion.'' n2

n2 Psalms 71:1.

Fear is often a problem, whether it appears as fear of the subject, of the instructor, or of the test score's influence on one's future. The best antidote to fear is love. God is Love, and as His man we naturally express His nature. We can specifically annihilate any feelings of fear by striving to love everything good connected with the test -- even the test itself. An exam can be the joyful culmination of our loving, particularly if we have loved from the outset -- loved our study, our contacts with the instructor and our classmates, our research.

Of course, some classes may seem easier to love than others! But a conscious effort to express the love that is rightly ours as God's spiritual likeness helps to eliminate the constraints that human preferences or opinions would impose. When we are doing our best to reflect the love of God, and to feel the presence of divine Love as our very Mind, fear recedes and dissolves. Beyond that, we find that our love for others becomes more spontaneous and impartial because God's love is universal.

As we pray to express the qualities of God, we can be confident in His direction. By being obedient to the guidance of Christ, His saving Truth, we can achieve far more than we might have expected. Mrs. Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, explains in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m ''Whatever is governed by God, is never for an instant deprived of the light and might of intelligence and Life.'' n3

n3 Science and Health, p. 215.

If the test seems difficult, just stop for a moment and quietly pray to know the presence of divine intelligence and love. Because these attributes are the very nature of your true being, you can never lose them. Each test can provide new and more satisfying opportunities to prove their presence in your life. DAILY BIBLE VERSE The Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6

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