By David Faust
And what about the common greeting, “How ya’ doin’?” Whether it’s a casual acquaintance, a stranger, or even a close friend who asks how I am doing, most of the time they don’t want a literal answer. Do they really want to know about my arthritic elbow or my leaky roof? Do I need to tell them I’m angry with my nosy neighbor, annoyed by a cantankerous church member, and aggravated with the direction of America’s politics? Do they need inside information about my aches and pains or my irritations at work?
Here’s a suggestion. The next time someone asks how you’re doing, tell them you’re “Pantastic!” Note the spelling. Not fantastic. (Be honest, you don’t feel fantastic all the time.) No, my made-up word is pantastic—from the Greek panta, which means “all things” or “everything.” In the last two chapters of Philippians, the apostle Paul uses panta three times to drive home important points about the Christ-centered life.
Give It Up . . . as a Sacrifice
First, Paul says, “I consider everything [panta] a loss” (Philippians 3:8). Everything in the “win” column of Paul’s life—his trophies and achievements, his honors and possessions—he was willing to put in the “loss” column. Why? “Because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ” (v. 8).
It’s not that his accomplishments didn’t matter. It’s just that the sparkling diamond of knowing Christ makes the Crown Jewels of England look like rubbish by comparison. Who wouldn’t trade a pile of garbage for a treasure chest filled with heavenly riches?
“How are you doing?” Pantastic. If you’ve already counted everything a loss, you have nothing to lose!
Offer It Up . . . in Prayer
Next, Paul says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every [panti, a form of panta] situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (4:6). Prayer is relevant in every situation. When you’re worried, tell God about it. When you’re concerned about others, lift them up before God’s throne. When you’re thankful, express your gratitude to the giver of every good and perfect gift. God cares about all of it. Prayer gives voice to all of it.
“How are you doing?” Pantastic. You’re offering up every experience for God to improve it, empower it, forgive it, redirect it, rejoice in it, or simply help you endure it.
Live It Up . . . by God’s Power
Paul concludes, “I can do all [panta] this through him who gives me strength” (4:13). Nothing you encounter is any match for his power. Every challenge you face, you can survive with the strength God provides. Every burden you bear, you can carry with his help.
“How are you doing?” Pantastic. The “God of peace” is teaching you “the secret of being content in any and every situation” (4:9-12).
Now, if you use my made-up word, others may mistakenly think you’re saying “fantastic.” But if you get the chance, tell them why you’re doing well. Point them to the all-powerful, all-wise, always present Lord. He never fails, and he is with us no matter what. That’s pretty pantastic, don’t you think?
1. How are you doing—really?
2. How do you see God at work in your everyday life?
David Faust serves as the Associate Minister at East 91st Street Christian Church, Indianapolis, Indiana.
The Lookout’s Bible Reading Plan for June 29, 2014
Use this guide to read through the Bible in 12 months. Follow David Faust’s comments on the highlighted text in every issue of The Lookout.
2 Kings 16, 17
2 Kings 18, 19
2 Kings 20, 21
2 Kings 22, 23
2 Kings 24, 25