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We learn in the 6th chapter of Apostle Paul's letter to the Ephesians that the beloved and faithful Tychicus (whose name means fortunate) was sent by Paul so that the Ephesians might learn BOTH how Paul was doing and what Paul was doing, in that order. (verse 21) Then in the next verse Paul reiterated the how "that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts." Now the purpose had broadened to include Paul's companions in ministry. Oftentimes I notice when we are asked how we are, we respond by answering with what we are doing, at least I often do, because it is somehow easier to say what I have been up to than it is to describe how I am. I can hide from the how in the what. But what we are doing is secondary to how we are doing or how we are. How we are doing seems closer to the vital question of who we are becoming. It is as if I think I can define who I am by what I am doing, but in reality we are closer to defining who we are by beginning with HOW we are. (Remember how God gave His name to Moses in Exodus 3 as the I AM.) We live in bodies, we have souls (mind, will, emotions), but we ARE spirits, so when we begin to unfold how we are, we are beginning, potentially anyway, to penetrate deeper into our spiritual life and into the Spirit of God. At the risk of reading too much into it, knowing how Paul and his companions were doing was what seemed to have the most power to encourage the hearts of the Ephesians, since this knowing and encouragement are linked together by Paul in the 22nd verse, and the idea of what they were doing is not carried over from the previous verse. As important a matter as what we are doing is, we as believers ought to be even more interested in HOW each other is doing and how others in our lives are doing.
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