With Christ, No Mo’ FOMO
Do you believe that in Christ you have everything you need to live abundantly?
I have the pleasure of spending an evening a month with a group of emerging leaders here in Spokane. Most would fall in the category of Millennials, although few would label themselves that way. We discuss steward theology and they are helping me understand how it might be heard through their worldview lenses. It’s an enjoyable and enlightening journey.
Recently, they introduced me to a new term, new for me at least; FOMO. It stands for the Fear Of Missing Out. It’s a real fear with which every member of our group is struggling. It’s powered by social media where the achievements and experiences of others are streamed out relentlessly. The result is anxiety and envy. This is the ‘comparison generation’ and their nagging fear is that everyone else is experiencing and achieving more than they. Even though my group members admit they know that people only post good stuff, the continual reminder of what they’re missing out on has instilled in them a gnawing discontent.
Hearing about FOMO reminded me of the serpent’s conversation with Eve in Genesis 3. God asked only one thing of His created couple, that they trust that He had supplied them everything they needed for their complete happiness, and rejected everything that would harm them. He asked them to trust His eternal choice to be for them. In this way, they didn’t need to know good from evil themselves, they just needed to trust that God had chosen the good for them, and rejected the evil.
The serpent was successful in planting seeds of doubt in Eve’s mind regarding that trust. Why would a loving God keep anything from them, such as the fruit of this tree? Can He really be trusted? What is He afraid of it they eat of this tree? Is He afraid they’ll experience true freedom, full knowledge and the ability to choose good and evil for themselves? And so he hissed his deception into their ears.
It seems that Satan understood the power of FOMO to convince otherwise godly people to replace their trust and faith in God with a penchant for control and self-reliance. In Eden he used a serpent in a tree. Today, perhaps he has found a new tool in the pseudo-realty of social media.
What the enemy hates is a Christ follower who is content. He is impotent against a contented spirit. How do you tempt someone who is genuinely content? How can you deceive someone who believes, really believes that the Lord is their Shepherd, and in Him they have everything they need?
At the heart of FOMO, and of most all anxiety we experience as believers, is this fundamental question; do we really believe that in Christ we have everything we need to live the abundant life He created us to live?
If Christ is ‘enough’, then all FOMO fades away. If Christ is ‘enough’, the enemy is robbed of his primary weapon that he uses against us. If Christ is ‘enough’, we really can experience the ‘peace that passes all understanding’ (Philippians 4:7), peace ‘not as the world gives’ (John 14:27) but peace that only comes from our Good Shepherd, our loving creator, our daily source of provision, and our coming Savior.
In the end, this is a stewardship issue. Stewards surrender everything to God, and trust Him to provide, lead and guide us to the abundant life in Jesus Christ. The enemy wants our focus to be on all we have surrendered and so he presses the FOMO question. Through the Holy Spirit, we must let it go and not look back. Life is not found in the old kingdoms we abandon, but in the one-kingdom where Jesus is Lord of all.
Are you struggling with FOMO? The cure is surrender and the fruit is a contented spirit and the life of the faithful steward.