sleep. You need the energy from the food and strength from adequate rest.
You also need to know all the exam requirements well. Consult your teacher. Know how long each paper is and what the examiner wants in your answers. Be encouraged that others that have gone through exams were people like you. They went through the exams and came out well. It can also be true of you. Those who have prepared well never fear. They trust the Lord to remind them about what they have read. (v) Lack of success in studies Sometimes you work hard, but your results have nothing to show for all the long hours you put in studying your books. On the other hand others do not study as much as you do yet they do much better than you. Non-Christians do better than you. You wonder why this should be the case. To make matters worse some teach that a Christian’s testimony counts if they get good results. Your poor marks could be because of choosing subjects you don’t like. You just obeyed parents, guardians or friends to do the subject. Seek advice and pray for direction. In addition use the right methods in your studies. It is not the quantity of studies that matters but the quality that matters. Do you have good up-to date notes? Do you make notes of your notes? Do you have group study discussions? There is strength in unity. Discussions help you to supplement each others weaknesses. Realise that non-Christians may and will do better than you. God grants His gifts such as knowledge to all without discrimination. As a Christian do your best entrust God with the results. Just because you are not so good in academic work does not mean you are failure in all aspects of life. Conclusion Be a Christian student. Not a student who happens to be a Christian. May all who watch your life see that you are different. Do not use sinful means such as “exam leakages” to pass exams. Passing exams is not a matter of life and death. Glorifying God is! Seek the glory of God in your studies. Study diligently. Use the gifts that God has given you to glorify Him. May your days as a Christian student be days of service where you will discover your calling. Amen!
THE CHRISTIAN STUDENT AND EXAMINATIONS Gabriel S Konayuma
Introduction How should Christian students use their minds in their studies? Why should Christian students spend at least sixteen years of their lives going to school doing subjects which seem not to have much to do with Christianity? Why should a Christian student be subjected to examinations? How does a Christian student deal with the fear of examinations? In order to shed more light on the subject of the Christian student and examinations, this article will look at the following areas: Definition of a Christian Student The Goal or end of Christian Studies Problems a Christian Student Faces 1. Definition of a Christian Student Before defining who a Christian student is, it is necessary to define who a Christian is. A Christian is a man or woman, boy or girl who has come face to face with his or her sin and turned in true repentance to God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. A Christian seeks to live a holy life which is pleasing to God. A Christian seeks to live to the glory of God. A Christian student is a Christian who is engaged in studies of any kind, be they academic, vocational, theological etc. A Christian student seeks to know what God’s mind and will is about their calling in life. This article is meant for students that are in secondary school. However students at other levels may find the lessons here useful for them. How should a Christian view their studies? What should be the goal of a Christian as they pursue their studies? 2. The Goal of Studies for a Christian In Mark 12:30 the Lord Jesus Christ gives a very important command in answer to one of the teacher’s of the law. In answering the question: “of all the commandments, which is the most important, Christ responds “Love the Lord your God, with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind”. What does this mean? It means we are to love the Lord with the highest love, warm emotion, and activity. We are to cling to the Lord and delight in Him as our chief good. We are to use everything we have in obedience to God out of love for him. God has given us minds so that we can glorify Him. In all we do as Christians our 1 © 2006 by Gabriel S Konayuma
Gabriel S Konayuma E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
4 © 2006 by Gabriel S Konayuma
goal should be to glorify God. Paul says: “whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31). Your studies should be used to glorify God, not to satisfy your own desires, to please your parents or to get a well paying job. In Colossians 3:17 Paul says that “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Col. 3:17). This makes a very big distinction between a Christian who knows God and seeks to live for Him and the non-Christian who lives only for herself or himself and seeks to use their education for their own selfish ends. The first question in the Shorter Catechism of the Westminster Assembly states that the chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. Is this your aim in your studies? Is this what you seek after? In your actions do you seek to glorify God’s name? Dear friend God has given you a body and a mind. May you use them for His glory alone! 3. Problems a Christian Student Faces As you seek to glorify God in your studies, what are some of the problems that you may face? Christian students face the problem of tiredness and laziness, failure to appreciate the usefulness of our studies, time management, fear of exams, lack of success in studies and lack of reward from your studies. Let’s look at each of these in more detail. (i) Tiredness and Laziness Someone may say “I just don’t seem to be able to work, but when exams come I panic. This is a real problem. Sometimes Christians don’t hand in their homework in time or don’t hand in at all. Some feel bored when it comes to studying certain subjects. Some Christian students find some of their teachers boring. How should you conduct yourself when found in such situations? Firstly, seek the advice of an older and experienced Christian. They have been where you are. They can offer valuable help. Secondly, talk to your teacher or careers master. Be honest with them. Tell him or her the difficulties you face. Tell them in a humble and wise way that you find the subject they teach challenging, but think it is important. Ask them for help so that you can develop interest in the subject and perform better. Pray for your teacher.
Thirdly, be a hard worker and glorify the Lord. Participate in class, do class exercises and hand in your homework on time. Studies are a training of your mind. They help you to develop thinking skills and planning. Use your study time in a way that pleases the Lord. (ii) A Failure to appreciate the usefulness of Studies Sometimes a Christian student whether it is worth going to school studying unnecessary subjects instead of serving the Lord in full-time Christian ministry. What does the Bible say on this issue? Nowhere, in any part of the Bible are Christians urged to consider leaving their everyday tasks for “full-time” work. You are not to seek the ‘most spiritual’ jobs seek after the best gifts. The best preparation for God’s service is to serve Him in what you have to do right now. Studies are useful as they train your mind to be orderly, to use your memory well and to collect and analyse information. Studies also help you appreciate how God is the source of all knowledge. (iii) Time Management Some students find managing time a problem. How do you allocate adequate time to studies with other demands such as work at home, Church meetings, extra-curricular school activities and so on? How do you manage your time? Do you plan how you spend your time? You need to do so. Don’t you sometimes waste time in meaningless conversations, long TV or DVD watching, or sitting through long committee meetings poorly chaired? John White says “when held hypnotically by TV, deliberately break your trance, wash your face in cold water and get back to your books”. Excellent advice! You need to be hardworking and use time in a wise manner. Studies are important. So are church meetings, extra-curricular activities etc. So plan how you use each day. Know yourself. How well do you remember things you study? Through self-study? Group discussions? Taking notes? Once you know your study style then use it to your best advantage. You don’t need to study the whole day just because your friend does so. People differ. Besides occasional breaks from study are useful to give you time to refresh and reflect. (iv) Fear of Exams Fear of exams is natural. You ought to have a positive attitude to exams. Exams are meant to test your ability in a certain subject and what work you are best suited for. Work steadily from the time you are in grade eight or grade ten till the day of the exams. Steady, thorough work and revision will repay your efforts in the end. To reduce or eliminate your fear of exams, plan your studies. If you are well prepared you’ll have little to fear. You also need to eat well and rest enough. Don’t go on unplanned fasts and highly reduced 3 © 2006 by Gabriel S Konayuma
2 © 2006 by Gabriel S Konayuma