Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints, for those who fear Him have no lack! The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. Psalm 34:9-10
One of our adult kids used the phrase “fear of missing out” or FOMO with me recently. Since I was not familiar with the term, I sought more understanding and found this definition for FOMO online: FOMO is not just the sense that there might be better things that you could be doing at this moment, but it is the feeling that you are missing out on something fundamentally important that others are experiencing right now. It is often exacerbated by sites like Instagram and Facebook.(1)
I believe FOMO is a natural fear that all of us will have at times. I remember many times in my life when I wondered why I was not included or invited to a particular get-together or gathering. This was hurtful. God made us to be connected to Him and others in relationships, and when we are not connecting, it can leave us feeling lonely and left out.
As I thought more about FOMO, I wondered how it could affect our spiritual walk as Christ-followers. Jesus said that Satan is a “liar and the father of all lies” (John 8:44). Satan is always trying to take God's truth and twist it for his own purposes – ultimately, to keep you and me from knowing and fully following Jesus as our King.
And here's the lie from Satan: That if you or I will truly follow Jesus, we will be missing out on so much in this life. The lie tells us that everyone else will have fun, and we will miss out. Everyone else will have success, and we will not. Everyone else will be happy, and we will just trudge through life. Satan loves to get our focus on false beliefs and assumptions.
But God has given you and I, as Christ-followers, a promise in this Psalm: “those who seek the Lord lack no good thing”. In fact, it's as if the Lord, through David, wants us to get this because He repeats “have no lack” and “lack no good thing” in verses 9 and 10. I believe the Scriptures teach that no one who truly follows Jesus will ultimately feel cheated or short-changed. Yes, we must make sacrifices to follow Jesus, but what we ultimately receive will pale in comparison to what we give up. Let me illustrate that belief by sharing this story from Dennis and Barbara Rainey:
When God called out, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us? (Isaiah 6:8), Isaiah had a clear choice to make. Would he remain committed to his own petty concerns, or would he submit himself totally to his Lord? The prophet made his choice when he replied “Here am I! Send me.”
Isiah understood that God was the Master and he was the servant. He knew that situation called for total surrender, without reservation. While many see this type of service as lowly – and it is humbling – we should consider it a privilege to serve such a loving Lord in every area of our lives, including our marriages.
In 1972, the first year of our marriage, Barbara and I decided that before we would give anything to each other, we would surrender our lives totally and completely, in writing, to Jesus Christ. We gave Him everything we've ever dreamed of having. We offered it all up and handed over to Him the title deed of our lives. Today those two title deeds are among the most important papers we have.
That first Christmas together, while Barbara sat down in our kitchen, I went to our sparsely furnished living room and took a seat on the hand-me-down sofa. There we contemplated giving God all that we had and everything we hoped to have as a couple and as a family. She made her list. I made mine. We gave God what we saw as most important on that day. I gave Him my desires for a successful ministry, nice furniture and things, plenty of money, lasting health, and some good ski equipment. Barbara had a similar list—a house with a fireplace and a bay window, children (at least one boy and one girl) who would honor God and her rights to be settled and stable.
Looking back, what we signed over to God on that day seems so trivial now, compared to what He has given us. In many instances, He gave us far more than we ever dreamed or imagined. I see that we gave Him only what belonged to Him: our lives. In return, He has given us “exceeding abundantly above all that we [could] ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).
As human beings, we mistakenly think surrendering to the God of the universe is the loss of our lives. In reality, total surrender to God brings not total defeat but total victory!
Count the Cost
So let me be frank with you. This post is not the “surrender to Jesus and your life will be wonderful and problem-free” message. Jesus never promised that. There is no “Prosperity Gospel” in Scripture. What Jesus did say is it will be costly to follow Him. Read Jesus' words to the Rich Young Ruler in Matthew 19. Or read Jesus words to the crowd about counting the cost in Luke 14:25-33. Make no mistake, following Jesus will be costly. It will require sacrifice. It will include times of suffering as well.
But in the midst of counting the cost, let's return to Psalm 34, and read verse 8 and see one more thing:
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! ESV
Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in Him! NLT
Remember that lie from Satan? That if you or I will truly follow Jesus, we will be missing out on so much in this life. The Psalmist tells us of a truth we need to be reminded of frequently: The Lord is good! The Psalmist invites us to taste and see - to experience His goodness. But we can only truly experience that when we are following Him wholeheartedly.
So what's holding you back from fully surrendering or re-surrendering to the One who created you? What are you afraid of missing out on? I encourage you to take that step of surrender, by faith and through a conscious decision of your will. Take a moment even now. Kneel in prayer or get into whatever posture is needed. Jesus paid it all for you and for me. Surrender your all to Him! Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in Him!!
1) Read about the Rich Young Ruler in Matthew 19:16-30. What did Jesus call him to do in verse 21? How did he respond? Why do you think he responded this way? How can this passage apply to you today?
2) Read what Jesus says in Luke 14:25-33 about the cost of following Him. List out some of the things He says below. In all that Jesus shares, what do you think He is trying to communicate? What applications does this passage have for your life today?
3) Take time with your spouse or a close friend to do what Dennis and Barbara Rainey did. Make a list of your dreams, desires, and plans. Then take time to truly surrender all of those to the Lord, knowing that following Christ is worth the cost.
(1): Very Well Mind: Online article “How to Cope with FOMO”: LINK: https://www.verywellmind.com/how-to-cope-with-fomo-4174664
(2) FamilyLife Marriage Bible, Dennis Rainey, pp. 842
Written by Glen Solberg, Abiding Marriage, 2021.