Rick Bell is a Global missionary who previously served in China. He and his family are currently serving in the U.S. You can read more by Rick at ricksbell.com
I lived in China for 18 years. One of the things I appreciated about Chinese culture was the way people greeted each other in passing. The Chinese greet each other saying, “Have you eaten yet?” It’s easy enough to answer. There’s no glossing over how you really feel. You simply say yes or no.
Americans, on the other hand, say, “How you doing?” The standard and expected answer is, “I’m fine, thanks.” However, “I’m fine” is not always true.
How many times has your mouth uttered the words, “I’m fine,” but inside you thought, “You really want to know?” But try to stop and tell someone how you’re really doing, and see how well it goes.
I’m not accusing anybody of sin when they answer, “I’m fine” and they’re really not. “How are you” is more of a social custom than it is an inquiry into truth. No one expects real heart searching when they ask.
There is, however, a time for heart searching, and we need to be truthful with ourselves. We need to consider how we are according to what the Lord says in Scripture.
It’s possible to go through life thinking you’re fine, when, all the while, your heart gives no room to God.
Even those who are regular churchgoers can be deceived. They think all is well because they do their duties and pay their tithes, but they haven’t really trusted in God’s grace through Jesus Christ. They count more on their works and performance, and perhaps compare themselves to others. “At least I’m not as bad as so and so…”
The only way to "be fine" is to realize you can’t of yourself be fine- and then trust Jesus for your acceptance with God.
But I turn now to those who have trusted in Jesus. How are you?
Don’t lie and say, “I’m just a sinner, saved by grace.”
The truth is that you WERE a sinner, but grace saved you. Now you are a child of God! Though sin still exists, it doesn’t define you like it did in the past. “For he has made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Don’t lie and say, “I can’t handle this.”
Instead, agree with Scripture and say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” (Philippians 4:13).
Don’t lie and say, “God has left me.”
Although it may feel that way at times, we don’t go by feelings. We go by faith, and believe the Word: “For he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5).
The truth is, we can’t rightly know how we really are without reading God’s Word.
Our thoughts and feelings are not accurate measures. We have to learn the truth, and the truth will set us free. So many Christians become defeated because they don’t know who they are or what they’ve got according to the Word of God.
So really, how are you?
Those who love God and know His Word may not always feel like it, but they can always truthfully say, “I’m blessed.”