Transformed – teen devotion – April 21, 2024

One truth shared: Jesus wants us to use his Word to test the teachings we hear. 

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirt of truth and the spirit of falsehood.

1 John 4:1-6

Dear Teen, Test Carefully

How many science tests do you think you have done in all your school years? You probably started out with some simple tests learning about chemical reactions, gravity, or energy. Perhaps your teacher made “elephant toothpaste” erupt out of a beaker. Maybe you dropped wrapped-up eggs off the roof or designed popsicle stick bridges. As you got older you likely learned to test liquids with litmus paper to see if they were acids, neutrals, or bases. Maybe by now you’ve done some more complex tests in biology, chemistry, or physics classes.

Some students love doing these tests, others find them a bore or dread them. No matter what you feel about the scientific method and tests, you are learning important life skills. It is essential to be able to think about things with a critical and analytical mind, carefully using logic and deduction to make wise and appropriate decisions. It’s also pretty cool to be able to know how God’s awesome creation works! The ability to test something is an important life skill.

However, “testing” is an even more critical spiritual-life skill. Jesus, our Good Shepherd, blesses his Church by giving pastors and teachers who serve as under-shepherds that preach and teach to Jesus’ flock and sheep. But there are a LOT of pastors and teachers out there in a LOT of different churches! In addition, there are endless videos, blogs, and articles online to sort through. How are you supposed to know which one to listen to? This is where your testing skills come in!

The apostle John warns us with this advice: “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” John’s encouragement is to become very good at testing. Because there are many false teachers in the world, we should test what they teach. So how do we do that? With God’s Word! The Bible is the litmus paper we must use to test whether someone’s teachings are accurate or true.

This is a big challenge! Don’t get pulled into believing everything you see or hear online, or from the next church down the street that has something fancy or looks cool. Just like in school, do your homework! Listen to what they are saying. Look for statements of faith on websites. Find out what people really believe, and then compare that with the Bible. Be a student of the Word who uses it to carefully test what is right and wrong. So, stay connected to Jesus, study up in the Word, and put all your testing experience and careful thinking to good use!

Prayer: Good Shepherd, thank you for giving so many shepherds to serve as preachers and teachers of your truth. But there are also many false teachers who are wolves in shepherd’s clothing. Help me to grow in faith and knowledge so I can carefully test all teachings and remain faithful to the truth of your Word. Amen.

Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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