Spiritual discernment is much like tuning in a radio. Spiritually speaking, what frequency are you tuned in to?
My dad used to love opera. When we were growing up, my father used to torture us with opera. Now, you probably wouldn’t have guessed it when you first meet him, but he was an opera fan. He was a simple, country boy whose parents moved from Tennessee, through Kentucky and up to southern Ohio.
About half of my mom’s side, however, moved the other direction. They moved to Tennessee, and there they often had the Miller family reunion. You may be struck while driving through Tennessee at the number of country stations. Once in a while, there might be a rock or “classic rock” station, but the vast majority were country. However, come Sunday morning, being in the “Bible Belt”, most stations were playing radio preachers and/or gospel music. No country and no rock.
However, at the end of the dial, there was one, and only one, radio station playing – you guessed it — opera.
I could picture in my mind my father trying to find that one radio station among all the others that were broadcasting that morning to listen to opera. Like anyone who wants to listen to a particular station, he would have to tune the radio to the right frequency. Otherwise, he would not receive the desired radio station.
So let me ask you: What radio frequency are you tuned in to?
Let’s take some time to reflect upon an analogy that HWA used. Remember, we are not to be ignorant of Satan’s devices (2Co 2:11), else he will take advantage of that ignorance.
Please turn to Eph 2:2.
Mr. Armstrong compared this Scripture to how a radio receiver receives radio signals. His interpretation of Eph 2:2 should be familiar to all the old timers. Mr. Armstrong stated that Satan broadcasts moods and attitudes, and our human spirit was naturally tuned in to those broadcasts.
2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
~ Ep 2:2
Just as a radio transmitter broadcasts radio waves into the air, the enemy broadcasts his signals on the spiritual plane. I remember the first time I heard the radio analogy, I was intrigued by it. After spending some time in the Army working in radio communications, I began to have a better appreciation for just how accurate Mr. Armstrong’s analogy really was. I have come to appreciate that you must tune in to the right frequency, you must filter out many radio stations, and this is electronic warfare (EW).
You must search for the right frequency
If you don’t pick the right frequency, you will be listening to country music when you really want opera. You must push a button or turn a dial to tune in to the correct radio station.
There is only one frequency you can tune in to, or you won’t get the desired station. Likewise, spiritually, there is only one true frequency and one true radio station you should tune in to. You cannot just make up a frequency and get what you want.
12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
~ Ac 4:12
There are many radio stations that you must filter out
Our enemy does not just broadcast on one frequency. When you tune a radio, you are not only amplifying the frequency tuned to, but you are filtering out the unwanted frequencies.
You could say that a radio receiver must discern between the correct frequency and the wrong ones.
Satan and his demons broadcast on many frequencies. When you get a chance, take a look sometime at Gal 5:16-21. Paul gives us a sampling of the moods and attitudes that are broadcast by the enemy. That is followed by the contrast of the moods and attitudes that are called the “Fruits of the Spirit”, the ones we should be tuning in to.
This is electronic warfare (EW)
The enemy is capable of broadcasting fake signals that appear to be the real thing, but they are a counterfeit designed to deceive you.
When that doesn’t work, the enemy may broadcast propaganda that is designed to entice you to do wrong or to discourage you.
Static is another technique of EW that drowns out the real radio stations broadcasts. This could be mild static that is simply annoying, or it could be what is called “Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP)”, which usually involves a burst of electronic activity that disrupts radio waves suddenly and powerfully.
The world around us is constantly bombarding us with distractions. We may have huge trials that cause a violent disruption in our peace of mind and take its toll on our spiritual condition if we are not vigilant. Social media, along with the blatant lies often promoted on it, can be a huge distractor and time waster.
Our defensive tools against the electronic warfare are nothing new. We’ve all heard these, but let’s look how they apply in this analogy.
- Prayer. Communication is a two-way street. When receiving information on a two-way radio, we transmit back in order to confirm we are receiving correctly, that we understand instructions and to request assistance with overcoming obstacles. We pray to acknowledge truths we’ve heard and read, to acknowledge our understanding and to ask for help with carrying out what we understood. Remember, when you pray for assistance to include a request for more of His HS to enable you to hear and do God’s will.
- Bible Study. Bible Study enables you to recognize the right station when we come across it. Could you recognize opera if you had never heard it? Bible study is similar to a tune knob on a radio receiver. The circuitry funnels and boosts the signal so it is clear when it is turned into sound. We actually train our spiritual ears when we study the Bible. If we are not listening, how can we recognize the radio station once we come upon it? We must study daily to know what we are listening for. We will not likely be deceived if we are constantly in the Word.Tuning in a radio station may take some concentration. You can read through the entire Bible and not actually study any of it. You need to think and consider what you study, which leads me to the next point.
- Meditation. If Bible Study is our tune knob, then meditation is our fine tune knob. Many military radios have a “fine tune” knob in addition to the dials for the frequency. While the tuning knob funnels and boost the signal, the fine tune knob acts as a filter on unwanted signals. This allows you to filter out static and make the signal more understandable. If we simply read through the Bible and do not meditate on its meaning and its application, then we are vulnerable to static interfering with our spiritual lives.
- Fasting. Worldly fasting is a means of trying to get a god or gods to do your will. Godly fasting involves humbling oneself so we can better hear His will. If you ever had to deal with rabbit ears, perhaps you put aluminum foil on them to try to bring in a weak signal. That works because it extends and enlarges the antenna, which gives you larger surface area to catch the signal. Fasting opens and enlarges our hearts so we can better hear God’s will.
- I hesitate to call this last item a “tool”, but I felt compelled to add it to this list. The Church and its fellowship are very important.Sometimes, the radio signal is just plain too weak to hear properly. Sometimes our own power levels might be running too low to transmit properly. Sometimes we need an additional unit to magnify the signal. We need a power amplifier. Fellowship, bearing one another’s burdens and brotherly love are a necessary ingredient to enduring to the end. Look around you. The power amplifier is wherever believers filled with the Holy Spirit meet together.
I would like you to consider Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. Can you read the Gospel accounts and not feel the disappointment that His disciples could not stay awake? What happened? God the Father sent an angel came to strengthen Him (Lk 22:43). If Jesus needed strength and comfort from another during His human life, how much more do we?
We all need a helping hand from time to time, but, if we are blessed enough to not need to be raised up by the hand in our current situation, then we need to be there to pull others up when they need it.
Doing these things will reinforce what we learn through proper feedback, allow us to ask for assistance, enable us to tune in to the correct spiritual frequency and recognize pretend stations, fine tune and filter out static, open and enlarge our hearts to God’s will and give us a power boost so we can both send and receive signals correctly and effectively.
There is only one frequency to tune in to if you want to receive the right radio station, yet there are many radio frequencies to filter out. We must learn to discern the true radio frequency from all of the false and static. This is spiritual warfare. We must trust in our God and Savior that if we use the tools of prayer, Bible study, meditation and fasting, and if we edify each other, then He will grant us the ability to not become a casualty of spiritual warfare.
So, as you can see, the analogy of radio frequencies compared to the Scripture about “the prince of the power of the air” fits reality pretty well.
Lastly, let’s remember that the point of communicating with our God and Savior is so we can draw closer to them. The importance of listening to the right frequency is highlighted in John 10:26-28.
We are promised that if we are His, then we will recognize the one true radio station. We are given this ability by God, because left to ourselves we will not recognize the true radio station. We use that communication to build a relationship and to carry out His Will.
26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
Let us earnestly use the tools God has given us to ensure nothing is blocking communication with Him.
What radio frequency are you tuned in to? Are you listening to what everyone else is listening to, or are you listening to the one small opera station on the dial?