[this article is contributed by Alex Rover]

It is Friday evening and the last day of lectures at campus for this semester. Jane closes her binder and puts it away in her backpack, along with the other course materials. For a brief moment, she reflects on the past half year of lectures and labs. Then Bryan walks up to her and with his signature big smile asks Jane if she wants to go out with her friends to celebrate. She politely declines, because Monday is the day of her first exam.

Walking to the bus station, Jane’s mind drifts into a daydream and she finds herself at her exam desk, leaning over a piece of paper. To her surprise, the piece of paper is blank except a single question printed all the way on top.

The question is in Greek and reads:

Heautous peirazete ei este en tē pistei; heautous dokimazete.
ē ouk epiginōskete heautous hoti Iēsous Christos en hymin ei mēti adokimoi este?

Anxiety grips her heart. How should she answer this single question printed on an otherwise blank page? Being a good student of the Greek language, she starts off by translating word for word:

Yourselves examine whether you are in the faith; yourselves test.
Or not do you recognize yourselves that Jesus Christ [is] in you if not unapproved you are?

A bus stop

Jane nearly misses her bus. She usually takes bus number 12, but right as the doors are closing the driver recognizes her. After all, for the past few months she would take this same route home every day after school. Thanking the driver, she finds her favorite seat vacant, the one by the left window behind the driver. Per habit, she takes out her headphones and navigates her media device to her favorite playlist.

As the bus takes off, her mind has already drifted back into her daydream. Right, the translation! Jane now puts things in a proper English sentence:

Examine yourself to see if you are in the faith; test yourself.
Or don’t you yourselves recognize that Jesus Christ is in you, unless you fail the test?

Failing the test? Jane realizes that with the most important test of the semester coming up, this is what she fears most! Then she has an epiphany. While Bryan and her friends are celebrating the end of the semester lectures, she must examine herself to prove that she is ready to pass the test! So she determines that when she will arrive home that night, she will immediately start reviewing the course material and start testing herself. In fact, she will do so all weekend long.

This is her favorite moment of the day, when her favorite song from her favorite playlist starts. Jane comfortably snuggles to the bus window in her favorite seat, when the bus halts at her favorite stop, overlooking a lush scenery with a lake. She looks out the window to see the ducks, but they are not here today.

Do you pass the test - lake

Earlier this semester, the ducks had little babies. They were sooo adorable as they would swim neatly in a row on the water, behind their mom. Or dad? She wasn’t entirely sure. One day, Jane even stuffed a piece of old bread in her backpack, and she got off the bus to spend an hour here until the next bus would pass by. Ever since that, her bus driver would take a few more seconds than normal at this bus stop, because he knew Jane loved it so much.

With her favorite song still playing, the bus now continues its journey and as the landscape fades into the distance at her left side, she turns her head back and into the daydream. She thinks: this can’t be the actual question at my exam, but if it were – what would I answer? The rest of the page is blank. Would I pass this test?

Jane uses her mental faculties to conclude that she would fail the test if she doesn’t recognize that Christ is in her. So in her answer, she must prove the teacher that she in fact, does recognize that Jesus Christ is in her.

But how can she do this? Jane is one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, so she opens her smart device and looks up 2 Corinthians 13:5 from the Watchtower Online Library and reads:

Keep testing whether you are in the faith; keep proving that you yourselves are. Or do you not recognize that Jesus Christ is in union with you? Unless you are disapproved.

Jane is relieved, because she knows for a fact that she is in union with Jesus Christ. After all, she lives in harmony with his words and commandments, and she has a part in the preaching work of his kingdom. But she wants to know more. On the Watchtower Online Library, she types “in union with Christ” and hits the search button.

The first two search results are from Ephesians. It refers to the holy ones and faithful ones in union with Christ Jesus. Fair enough, the anointed are in union with him and they are faithful.

The next result comes from 1 John but she doesn’t see how it relates to her search. The third result however brings her to Romans chapter 8:1:

Therefore those in union with Christ Jesus have no condemnation.

Wait a minute – Jane thinks – I have no condemnation? She is confused, so she clicks on the link to find Romans 8 and reads the entire chapter. Jane notices verses 10 and 11 explain verse 1:

But if Christ is in union with you, the body indeed is dead on account of sin, but the spirit is life on account on righteousness. If, now, the spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he that raised up Christ Jesus from the dead will also make your mortal bodies alive through his spirit that resides in you.

Then verse 15 catches her eye:

For you did not receive a spirit of slavery causing fear again, but you received a spirit of adoption as sons, by which spirit we cry out: “Abba, Father!”

So Jane concludes from here that if she is in union with Christ, she has no condemnation and then must have received a spirit of adoption. That scripture applies to the anointed. But I am of the other sheep, so does that mean I am not in union with Christ? Jane is confused.

She hits the back button and returns to the search. The next results from Galatians and Colossians once more talk about the holy ones in the congregations of Judea and Colossae. It makes sense that they are called faithful and holy if they ‘have no condemnation’ and ‘the body is dead on account on sin’.

The so-familiar sound and feel of the bus making a stop. The bus makes fourteen stops until Jane gets off. She had taken this trip so many times and gotten quite good at taking tally. Some days, a blind person takes this same bus route. She figured that this is how they know when to get off, by counting the stops. Ever since then, Jane challenged herself to the same.

Stepping down from the bus she doesn’t forget to smile at the driver and waves her hand for goodbyes. “See you Monday” – then the door closes behind her and Jane watches the bus disappear behind the street corner.

From there, it’s just a short walk to her house. Nobody is home yet. Jane speeds upstairs to her room and desk. There is this neat feature where her computer’s browser is synchronized with her mobile so she can resume reading with minimal interruption. She HAS to finish her daydream challenge or she won’t be able to concentrate on studying for her exam.

Jane scrolls through the list watching verse after verse. Then the scripture at 2 Corinthians 5:17 catches her attention:

Therefore, if anyone is in union with Christ, he is a new creation; the old things passed away; look! New things have come into existence.

Clicking on the verse she sees a reference to it-549. The other links are not clickable because the online library only goes back to the year 2000. Examining that link, Jane is taken to Insight in the Scriptures, Volume 1. Under Creation there is a subheading “A New Creation”. Scanning the paragraph she reads:

To be “in” or “in union with” Christ here means to enjoy a oneness with him as a member of his body, his bride.

Her heart was pounding with excitement as she received confirmation for what she had already thought. To be in Christ means to be anointed. Upon this realization, Jane repeated the words of her test from 2 Corinthians 13:5:

Examine yourself to see if you are in the faith; test yourself.
Or don’t you yourselves recognize that Jesus Christ is in you, unless you fail the test?

She took a piece of paper and wrote this verse again. But this time she substituted the meaning for being “in Christ”.

Examine yourself to see if you are in the faith; test yourself.
Or don’t you yourself recognize that you are [an anointed member of Christ’s body], unless you fail the test?

Jane gasped for air. Since she was not anointed but considered herself part of the other sheep with an earthly hope she read it again. Then she said out loud:

I have examined myself and found that I am not in the faith.
I have tested myself.
I do not recognize that I am a part of Christ’s body, therefore I fail the test.

In her mind, she returned to her daydream. Once again she sat down at her exam desk, staring at a piece of paper with a single verse in Greek and the rest of the page empty. This article is what Jane started writing.

The next Monday, Jane scored high marks on her school exam, because throughout the weekend she kept examining herself and through testing she learned from where she failed.

The story of Jane ends here, but what happened at her next meeting is worth sharing. At the Watchtower Study the Elder made reference to the article “Are you Rooted and Established on the Foundation?” (w09 10/15 pp. 26-28) In the second paragraph she read the following words:

We as Christians are encouraged to “go on walking in union with him, rooted and being built up in him and being stabilized in the faith.” If we do so, we will be able to withstand all attacks made on our faith—including those that come in the form of ‘persuasive arguments’ based on the ‘empty deception’ of men.

That evening Jane shared an article with her dad, titled: Do you pass the test?


Images courtesy of artur84 and suwatpo at FreeDigitalPhotos.net