When someone asks that question, there is a tendency to give a quick, reflexive response, like, “Good, how are you?” Perhaps this is understandable, because we realize that every time a person asks this question they are not seeking a detailed explanation of every malady in our lives. If everyone gave a detailed answer to that question every time it was asked, people would certainly stop asking it!
Yet, there are times when the question is asked with deeper interest. How are you really doing? How are you holding up in life? May I ask you to pause for a moment and seriously consider this question? There are two aspects to this question, one of which we often overlook:
1) How are you doing physically? This is what people usually mean, don’t they? When they ask how someone is “doing,” they usually have in mind their physical health, some illness with which they may be dealing, their status with a cancer diagnosis or some other serious physical challenge. And this is an important area of concern. So many are physically sick, afflicted with various illnesses, or simply trying to deal with the challenges of growing older in our physical body. We need to be interested in each other’s physical health, and it is important to be asking how we are doing. But there is another side to this question, which we should probably emphasize more than we do. It concerns an even more important realm of our existence.
2) How are you doing spiritually? Isn’t this the more fundamental question? And more important because no matter how well we may be doing physically, if we are snatched into eternity in a spiritually-unprepared condition, what difference would our current physical health make? Will it matter once we are ushered into eternity?
When the loving apostle John wrote his third epistle, he expressed a most insightful wish: “Beloved, I pray that in all things thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth,” (3 Jn. 2). His uppermost concern was for his friend’s spiritual health. He continues: “For I rejoiced greatly, when brethren came and bare witness unto thy truth, even as thou walkest in truth. Greater joy have I none than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth,” (3 Jn. 3-4). John recognized that all of our physical attainments, our accomplishments in this world, must be measured against what really matters – our spiritual health. The most healthy, physically-strong and pain-free individuals are ultimately doomed if they are spiritually sick. And likewise, even the most sickly, suffering gentle souls can look forward to eternal bliss if they are spiritually healthy. We see that the most important consideration during this life actually has very little to do with this life. It has everything to do with the life hereafter.
So how are you doing spiritually? Is your soul prospering? Are you growing in your love and faithfulness to the Lord? Are you daily more prepared for your heavenly home? How are you doing? You may not want to answer this question every time it is asked, because, as I said, people often ask the question lightly. But hearing the question may be an opportunity to think a little more deeply about our lives. Self reflection and examination can be good for us. So even if we smile and say, “just fine,” we may seize the opportunity to consider our soul.
There are many distractions and potential discouragements all around every Christian. Satan’s efforts are surely focused on Christians and Christian families. After all, he already has the others. So, many are suffering spiritually, and faltering in their faith. Some have completely abandoned Jesus Christ, and many others are simply making a show of following Him, as is often obvious. Many call themselves Christians, but are really more of a discouragement to Christians than anything else. They may be attending some of the services, and “going through the motions,” but they are inconsistent, uninvolved and lukewarm in their faith. If you are relying upon them for encouragement, you are probably not doing very well.
My prayer is that all of us will keep our focus on eternity, and that we will encourage one another to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. That we will be obedient and faithful, “doing fine,” even though we may be suffering physical setbacks, or other difficulties in this earthly life. So, the next time someone asks you, “how are you doing?” think about your soul. Think about what really matters.
-by Robert C. Veil, Jr.