These days, it seems like there are fewer things that unite us than divide us. But there is one thing we share in common: we all hate the thought of missing out. We hate the thought so much that we had to come up with an acronym to identify the feeling—FOMO. An acronym for Fear of Missing Out, FOMO is a shorthand way of expressing our fear of being forgotten or ignored. For example, for pastor-nerds like me, FOMO is the anxiety I get when I miss a big parachurch conference everyone’s posting and tweeting about. FOMO affects the places we go, the people we engage, the things we purchase, the media we consume—everything.
But what if I told you that FOMO is simply fear misplaced? And that missing out is actually a good thing for your spiritual life?
HOW MISSING OUT IS GOOD FOR YOUR SPIRITUAL LIFE
To understand how missing out is actually a good thing for your spiritual life, we first have to know what the aim of spiritual life is. When someone places their faith in Christ, they are saved and called “to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 1:9; cf. 1 Thess. 4:7). For the Christian, their “new self” in Christ is to be characterized by holiness (Eph. 4:24). Remarkably, we have been graciously invited to “share in his holiness” (Heb. 12:10).
J.I. Packer has said, “The nature of holiness is transformation through consecration.” Two things happen when Christ makes us holy: we are transformed and consecrated. But transformed into what, exactly? And consecrated from what?
One of the undeniable implications of pursuing authentic, Christian holiness is doing without certain things—missing out on some of what we used to enjoy as we set aside ourselves for honorable use in the Kingdom (consecration), so that we can be transformed into the image of Christ (transformation). The apostle Peter explains that holiness is not only a personal transformation to a new self (1 Pet. 1:14-15) but also a communal consecration to a new people (1 Pet. 2:9).
FOMO is one of the most urgent holiness problems facing us today. It causes many of us to participate in things that belong to our old self or our old environment. We’re tempted to chalk it up to “sin nature.” We explain away our being “of the world” as really an attempt to be “in the world” for Christ. When we cave to the fear, it interrupts the process of our transformation.
The Christian’s life simply cannot look the same as it once did, but missing out on the things that caused us to sin before Christ is good. Missing out on the destructive things the world tells us we need is good.