Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world.
—1 John 4:1
When I was a new Christian, I wanted to find a shortcut to spiritual maturity. I didn’t want to wait fifteen to twenty years to learn and grow. I wanted spiritual maturity overnight. I was always looking for an angle: What can I do? Where can I go? Is there a book that I can read? Is there one experience that I could have in my life that would bring me to instant spiritual maturity?
That is a trait of youth. You want something, and you want it now. New believers can be that way, and so can immature believers. They don’t want to wait for something. They want it now.
Another trait of youth is they like new things. Young Christians can be that way too. They like things that dazzle them.
When the apostle Paul visited Athens, he met the high council of the city. They said to him, “Come and tell us about this new teaching. . . . You are saying some rather strange things, and we want to know what it’s all about” (Acts 17:19–20 NLT).
The next verse adds this detail: “(It should be explained that all the Athenians as well as the foreigners in Athens seemed to spend all their time discussing the latest ideas)” (verse 21 NLT).
That is typical of the mentality of youth. They like something that’s new.
However, we need to be careful. As we mature, we realize that just because something is new doesn’t mean it is better.
We can be looking for a new experience, truth, or revelation and get ourselves into a lot of trouble. Instead, we need to apply judgment and realize that we’re potentially vulnerable. If we can’t find it in the Bible, then we don’t need it from someone else. The Bible is the arbiter of truth.