Failed Tests

February 7 2019
Volume 23, Number 6

In recent months I’ve been working at a facility that helps women and men who have been incarcerated with their transition back into life. They attend classes of various kinds, and some from our church have been invited to offer voluntary Bible classes. Our goal is to help them see the love of Christ and the help He offers for a better life.

One man shared disappointing news with me recently: He had failed his drug screen and would be taken to a local detention center for about three months. Some of our ladies have reported similar situations; women they’ve had in class don’t show up, and they learn later that they also failed drug screens and have been reincarcerated.

I’ve never been drunk or high, but from everything I hear and read I know that substance abuse is a powerful enemy. It takes education, constant watchfulness, and an energetic support group to help a person remain “clean”. Still, I have an immediate urge to say, “How could you fail that drug screen?! You knew it was coming.”

Perhaps I should again meditate on Paul’s words of caution: “… for you who judge practice the same things” (Romans 2:1). No, I don’t do drugs or drink intoxicating drinks. But I certainly struggle with other weaknesses. Will I also fail my test?

On one level we face tests every day; they’re called temptations. We should expect such tests on a daily basis: “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience” (James 1:2,3). James went on to describe the cycle of sin: “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (James 1:14,15).

When I give in to a temptation to sin, I have failed my test. I knew I would be tempted, and I had plenty of opportunities to prepare myself for those temptations. But there I go again, yielding with barely a fight to Satan’s allurements. (Praise God for His mercy!)

There is a test on a much higher level that we must not fail. Peter, in his second letter, had much to say about “the day of the Lord”. When Christ comes again this world will be destroyed and all who have ever lived will stand before the Lord to be judged. He then made the application: “Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness?” (2 Peter 3:11).

“Nothing is certain except death and taxes” we’ve heard, but that only applies to this life. Here’s the more exact axiom by which we must live: “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Let us be sure we are ready for that test; that means being in Christ (see Ephesians 1:3; Galatians 3:26,27).

Come to the light God offers! Study His word, the Bible. Worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss these ideas further.


Copyright, 2019, Timothy D. Hall. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version (Copyright, 1990, Thomas Nelson, Inc.).

“LightGrams” is produced by the Central Church of Christ, 2722 Oakland Avenue, Johnson City, Tennessee, 37601, and is written by Tim Hall, minister. It is sent free of charge every Thursday to all who request it. To subscribe or to receive more information, write to “” (our E-mail address), to the U.S. mail address above, or call (423) 282-1571.

Permission to reproduce and/or use the messages for noncommercial purposes is freely granted provided the messages are not altered.