Those of us who have owned a radio have probably had the following experience. We sat down to listen to a particular broadcast. Perhaps it was a musical program, a particular talk show, or a sports contest. But as we turned the dial, we could not find the one we wanted. We thought we knew the correct frequency for the radio station, but in reality we had forgotten. In frustration, we continually searched for the program. But to no avail.
To properly tune in to a radio station, one has to find the correct frequency. This is easy to understand when applied to radios, but do we think of its spiritual application? Do we understand that to achieve spiritual growth as Christians, we must be dialed in to the correct “frequency”?
Radio frequencies exist on specific wavelengths. Just as there are different wavelengths that radios can pick up, there are also wavelengths that can be picked up by the human mind.
Before God called us, we were all tuned in to a particular wavelength. Ephesians 2:1-3 states, “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature the children of wrath, just as the others.” (Scripture references are from the New King James Version throughout article.)
Notice Satan is described as the “prince of the power of the air.” Just as a radio station broadcasts through the airwaves, the devil broadcasts into the human mind, and incites disobedience to the laws of God.
Before repentance and baptism, we were all automatically tuned to Satan’s broadcasts. We were the “sons of disobedience.” As such, we produced rotten “works of the flesh”: “adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries and the like” (Gal. 5:19-21).
But there is another spiritual wavelength that is the opposite of Satan’s. On God’s wavelength, one does not produce the works of the flesh, but good fruit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (vs. 22-23).
Self-examination—A Vital Key!
God commands, “Examine yourselves, [as to] whether you are in the faith; test yourselves” (II Cor. 13:5).
The word translated “examine,” from the Greek piradzo, means “to test, to scrutinize.” We are to scrutinize our lives to determine if we are living in accordance with His Commandments. This implies a rigorous process of self-examination of all areas of our lives, with nothing left out.
But how can we tell whether we are tuned in to God’s wavelength or Satan’s?
Here are a number of areas we should examine in our lives.
It has been said, “You are what you think.” Our thoughts are a reflection of our character, whether good or bad. “For as he thinks in his heart, so [is] he” (Prov. 23:7).
Jesus put it succinctly when He said, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things” (Matt. 12:34-35).
So what do we think about? What thoughts dominate our mind? Are our thoughts saturated with the things of this world, such as our job, house, car, finances, family, friends, sports, entertainment, hobbies and getting ahead in life?
These are not wrong in and of themselves, but they should not be our primary focus. Notice I John 2:15: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
Do we think good, clean, positive thoughts? Are our thoughts godly? Or is evil sometimes on our minds?
Before God called us, our minds were filled with wrong thoughts. Let’s be honest in evaluating ourselves. Have we eliminated such thoughts, or do they still linger?
The apostle Paul admitted that evil was present within him: “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do” (Rom. 7:18-19).
If evil was present within Paul—one of the greatest servants of God who ever lived—then how much is it within each one of us?
We must strive to clean up our mind. The way to do this is given in Philippians 4:8: “Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just…whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
We all have needs that must be taken care of: bills to pay, necessities for the family and of the house, problems to overcome—in addition to the trials all of us have from time to time.
But these need not worry us. They should not dominate our thoughts. Instead, we should meditate upon the things of God, on how we can live a life more pleasing to Him and qualify to enter the kingdom of God.
“If you then be raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col. 3:1-2).
Our Friends and Associates
We must also examine the friends and associates with whom we spend time. Do they positively or negatively affect our character?
An important area to consider is their conduct. Do they lie, cheat, steal, swear, tell dirty jokes, gossip or live sexually immoral lifestyles? Are they deceitful or dishonest? What about those who are disrespectful, insubordinate or constantly critical? Are these types of people our close friends?
Notice what God says on this matter: “Evil company corrupts good habits” (I Cor. 15:33).
Do we think this will not happen to us? God warns against taking this approach: “Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he falls” (I Cor. 10:12). Constant contact with negative people will affect us. “Can a man take fire to his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one walk on hot coals, and his feet not be seared?” (Prov. 6:27-28).
Today, many are constantly angry, unhappy, morose, moody, sullen, unpredictable, unstable, emotionally immature, despondent and depressed. While it is good to try to help a friend who may have temporarily fallen into any one of these, understand that continually associating with people who are constantly negative will rub off on us.
Just as a glass of water left in a room will eventually take on the temperature of that room, so we will become like those with whom we associate, for better or worse.
Take note of God’s warning about dealing with people who are constantly angry: “Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man do not go, lest you learn his ways, and set a snare for your soul” (Prov. 22:24-25).
Our companions are a barometer of our spiritual temperature. Seek to spend time with those who will have a positive effect on you, those who will help you grow in godly character. “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend” (Prov. 27:17).
What about the things we allow our eyes to see? Today’s society brims with filth: illicit sex, violence, indecency, immorality, rude behavior and just plain bad manners. Due to modern technology, these are more easily accessed than any time in history, whether on the Internet, on television, in movies, in books or in magazines. For example, the Internet provides every form of indecent and depraved behavior man could devise, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Do we find ourselves watching or reading things we should avoid? What if others could know what we were allowing our eyes to see—would we be embarrassed?
Satan has booby-trapped society with all kinds of enticements to get us to sin. We must be vigilant not to allow ourselves to watch such things.
Follow the example of King David, who said, “I will set no wicked thing before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me” (Psa. 101:3).
Even if we may not be watching anything wrong, do we find ourselves spending too much time watching television or surfing the Internet when we could be doing something more productive, like drawing closer to God in prayer and Bible study? There are many distractions in this world that can easily take our minds off the things of God.
The tongue is one of the most important parts of the body. It is the means by which we communicate with others. It can be used for good or evil. For example, it can be used to praise God, or to put down others (Jms. 3:9).
Wrong forms of communication are prevalent worldwide. Swearing, dirty jokes, criticism, sarcasm, quarrels, disputes, lies, debates and putting down other people are common. We see these types of behavior in our neighborhoods, at the workplace, on television and, sadly, sometimes even in our friends and families.
But we should be different, and our speech should reflect this.
Notice God’s command: “But now you yourselves are to put off all of these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth” (Col. 3:8). Our speech should not be destructive, but constructive. It should serve to edify, to build up others. “Let each of us please [his] neighbor for [his] good, leading to edification” (Rom. 15:2).
It should serve to give us favor with others. “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one” (Col. 4:6).
Words can be used to help others. We can speak comforting words to those who are sick. We can cheer up those who are feeling down. We can encourage those who are experiencing sore trials. We can explain the truths of God to those who ask. There is no end to the ways we can build up and help others through our words.
Let’s determine to improve our communication for the benefit of others.
It has been said that as Christians, “You may be the only Bible some will ever read.” This is a testament to the power of personal example, one of not only “talking the talk,” but also “walking the walk.” Our actions must speak louder than our words. We are to be examples of God’s way of life to everyone with whom we come in contact. “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us” (II Cor. 5:20).
Just as an ambassador represents the country of their citizenship, so we represent Jesus Christ. Are we good ambassadors?
People judge our religion by the way we conduct
ourselves. Whether we are aware of it or not, they do
notice us—the way we speak, eat, dress and live.
The power of personal example by brethren was so effective during the 20th-century Work that large numbers began attending God’s Church as a result. Clearly, by our example we can help the Church. But if we are not careful, we can harm it.
Our conduct should reflect obedience to God’s Law. Equally, it should also reflect the love of God. “Though I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith…so that I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing” (I Cor. 13:2-3).
This extraordinary statement highlights the importance God places on love in the life of a Christian—of which we should take careful note. Let’s always keep in mind that we were called to live God’s way of life, the way of outflowing love toward others.
If someone “charged” us with being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict us? Or would there be a hung jury? Worse, would we be found innocent?
God will ultimately judge us by what we do with what we were given in the time in which we had to do it.
Setting a good example of Christian living will go a long way toward having His favor.
Find the Correct Frequency
We live in, perhaps, the most sinful time in man’s history. Christ compared this modern age to another time of great evil, the “days of Noah”: “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of man be” (Matt. 24:37).
To fulfill our Christian calling, we cannot allow this evil world to distract our minds. To grow spiritually, we must tune out Satan’s broadcasts and tune in to God’s. Once we do this, we must continue to live God’s Way the rest of our lives.
We must constantly scrutinize whether we are on God’s wavelength or Satan’s. We must carefully examine our thoughts, with whom we spend time, our speech, what we watch, and the personal example we set in our lives.
Just as a person dials in to a radio station, every one of us should ask ourselves: “Am I tuned in to the correct frequency?”