From This Point Forward
Finding the Right Frequency
by David Jeremiah
In her song "Strangeness of the Day," singer-songwriter Kate Campbell contemplates some of the "miracles [that] happen around everywhere:"
When I'm singing in this microphone
My voice comes out over there
Somehow my words are carried
By electrons through the air.
Marconi did the math work
And we've got it all on tape
But I'll never cease to wonder
At the strangeness of the day.
I wake up and wonder
At the strangeness of the day.
(K. Campbell/W. Aldridge ©2001)
Strange indeed! Maybe not to us in the twenty-first century when "satellite radio" is proliferating, but to anyone living before December 12, 1901 .... That's the day Guglielmo Marconi, an Italian physicist, sent Morse code signals from Newfoundland to England -- without the use of wires!
No wires? How could a sender sit at a desk in one country, tapping out Morse code, and have those taps be heard by a receiver in England -- with no wires in between? Many people woke up thereafter and wondered at the strangeness of the new day called "radio."
What Marconi discovered, and ultimately was awarded a Nobel Prize for in 1909, was "radio" -- the radiating and detecting of electromagnetic waves sent through space. In 1906, the American inventor Lee de Forest built the "Audion," the basis for still-to-come vacuum tubes that amplified electromagnetic signals without distorting them. That meant voices, music, and other sounds could be sent and received clearly through the air. By the 1930s, radio stations were humming all across the country.
Figuring Out Frequencies
The two most popular radio frequencies today are AM and FM. FM signals use a wider band that allows for higher fidelity than AM. And thus most music stations are FM—the wider range of frequencies makes basses deeper and trebles brighter. And most talk radio is AM since the human voice is more "monotone" than music.
Here's the bottom line on frequency: It's the number of times an event happens within a specified period of time. In radio, it's the number of times a wave travels through an electromagnetic field in one second. Radio stations send out their signals at different frequencies, and radio receivers are tuned to pick up those frequencies associated with different stations.
Frequencies are measured in different ways: hertz = one event per second, megahertz = one million events per second (the way radio waves are measured), and gigahertz = a billion events per second (the way computer processing speeds are currently measured). RPM = the number of revolutions your car's crankshaft makes in a minute and BPM = the number of times your heart beats in a minute.
Here are some frequency measures you may not be familiar with but which are more important than radio, computers, cars, and even the human heart: BPM, PPM, WPM, GPM, and SPM.
Frequencies of the Faith
Not familiar with those frequency abbreviations? You need to be! They may determine what kind of reception you are getting from God. Here's what they mean (the unit of time we'll consider for all these frequencies is one month [M] :
BPM = Bible Per Month (How many times you read God's Word in a month.)
PPM = Prayer Per Month (How many times you pray.)
WPM = Worship Per Month (How many times you worship God.)
GPM = Giving Per Month (How many times you give of your resources.)
SPM = Service Per Month (How many times you serve God and others.)
Here's where the math comes in: Add up all your Per Month frequencies, divide by five, and you'll arrive at your PSF -- your Personal Spiritual Frequency.
Are you starting to get a little uneasy about this whole "frequency" business -- applying scientific measures to the spiritual life? I hope so -- because it would be easy to become "Phrequency Pharisees." We might start taking calculators to church instead of our Bibles . . . having contests to see who was living at the highest PSF . . . "fudging" on all our spiritual disciplines just to get a higher frequency rating.
We are not going there -- no way! I've taken us through this exercise in frequency to raise an important question: How often should we read our Bibles, pray, worship, give, and serve in order to maintain a healthy relationship with God? Are there numbers (frequencies) we should strive to maintain? If not, how should we think about our Personal Spiritual Frequency?
Frequency and Fatherhood
For those of you who are parents, do you have a strict set of rules (frequencies) by which you maintain and measure your relationship with your children? Do you strive to chat with each child a minimum of ten minutes each day . . . take each one out on a one-on-one outing at least twice a month . . . give a set number of dollars each week for an allowance; no more, no less? My guess is that the strict answer is "No," while the relaxed answer is "Yes." What's the difference?
Every parent knows that, in order to develop and maintain a healthy spiritual and emotional relationship with children, certain things have to be done consistently (remember that word): You have to talk with them, listen to them, spend time with them, have fun with them, discipline them, teach them, pray with them, give to them, honor them, and show them love in a million different ways.
But how many times -- what frequency? As often as is needed in order to see increasing maturity, joy, security, stability, knowledge, humility, and love in the child. There is a sense in which we have to do some, and we could never do too much. But numbers aren't the point—consistency and growth are.
If we think about our relationship with God the same way, we'll conclude that one's Personal Spiritual Frequency is exactly that—personal. Just as a parent doesn't relate to each child in the family in exactly the same way, neither does God relate to every Christian in exactly the same way. You have to develop your own frequencies for exercising the spiritual disciplines necessary to keep you going and growing with your heavenly Father.
Finding Your Frequency
Let's go back to the spiritual disciplines I mentioned above and talk about whether or not your frequency of activity needs adjusting. In all these areas, the key concept is simple: consistently increasing spiritual maturity.
Bible Study. Reading your Bible often is the only way you will come to value God’s truth in your life. Are His words sweeter to you than honey (Psalm 119:103)? If not, you may need to increase your frequency -- you can't grow to love words you've read only once.
Prayer. Do you talk to your Father consistently and meaningfully? Are you "hearing" His words to you? Do you "say Hi" as well as have longer "heart-to-hearts"? Do you talk with God more than anyone else (1 Thessalonians 5:17)? Adjust your frequency accordingly.
Worship. Is worship an "I love to . . ." or an "I have to . . ." for you? Is church the only place and time you worship? Can you worship God regardless of the "style" of worship? Worship is not an activity as much as an attitude of the heart. Because your heart is with you at all times, your worship frequency can be constant (1 Timothy 5:5).
Giving. If we are giving the Lord His tithe, then we will "pay" Him every time He "pays" us. If we are giving offerings beyond the tithe, then we will keep an open hand and heart toward those the Lord brings our way who have needs. Regularity, increasing generosity, and cheerfulness -- those are indicators that your frequency is in the right range (1 Corinthians 16:1; 2 Corinthians 9:6-7).
Service. In addition to giving of your treasure, are you giving generously of your time and talent? The world has infinite human needs; therefore, there is no end to what we could do. But each of our life situations is different: different talents, different amounts of time. You’ll know your service frequency is correct when you can identify, consistently over time, things in the body of Christ and our world that are better because of your service (1 Peter 4:10).
Your Personal Spiritual Frequency can stay perfectly tuned as long as you set your spiritual receiver to God's frequency. Spend consistent, unhurried, two-way time with Him and you'll transmit your own life message, static free.