How the Gospel Frees Us from FOMO

It’s a good sign that something has become culturally significant when we make it into an acronym. Such is the case with FOMO, or the Fear of Missing Out. It is a common burden in our day to feel anxiety at the thought that friends, family, or acquaintances are getting together without us or that there is some desirable event that we won’t be there to experience. Certainly, social media has only helped to aggravate this fear as we often do see pictures of those in our social circle at some gathering together with their heads tilted back in laughter as if they’re having the time of their lives. Our hearts can then easily assume that this is a normal occurrence, that they’re getting together without us all the time. Effortlessly, this can lead to despair or bitterness at the thought of being sidelined.

With this danger in mind, what can believers do to stop from walking into FOMO’s trap? The book of Ephesians has just the answer we need. In it we discover the truth that frees us from FOMO. In Ephesians, Paul’s purpose for writing is not easy to pin down. In letters like 1 Corinthians, Galatians, and 1 Timothy, he is clear about why he is addressing his audience, but in Ephesians he takes a more general approach. However, if you take the time to step back and look at Ephesians from an aerial view, an overarching theme comes to the surface. As many have recognized, Paul’s writing in Ephesians is flooded with gospel language, but we need to ask, “Why?”

Let’s consider Ephesians 2:4-7 to help us answer that question. In verses 4-6, we are told that the believers who were spiritually dead in sin (2:1), God has made “alive together with Christ” (v. 5), “raised … up with [Christ]” (v. 6), and “seated … with [Christ] in the heavenly [places]” (v. 6). But in verse 7, we are told why God has done this: “So that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (emphasis mine). In this context, God brought believers from death to life in Christ in order to put His infinite grace on display for all eternity.

Paul says something similar one chapter later in Ephesians 3, when he conveys God’s plan for those who have been redeemed through Christ. God’s purpose is that “through the church the manifold wisdom of God might be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places” (3:10, emphasis mine). Again, Paul is clear that God’s plan is to demonstrate some aspect of His character through those whom He has saved. In this instance, it is His wisdom being put on display, and the audience is “the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places” (i.e., angels). Like the zoom-out function on Google Earth, Paul is pulling back to reveal what God is ultimately doing through our salvation in Christ: highlighting His glory.

In the current sermon series at our church, we have summarized this main theme by saying, “In God’s cosmic theater, the church stands center stage to highlight the glory of God through our salvation in Christ and submission in the Spirit.” What this means is that the gospel of your salvation is exceedingly more immense than you realize. Along with every other believer, you have been brought into the fold of God through Christ so that He would use you to show off His magnificence on a cosmic scale… So that He would point to you and your brothers and sisters for all eternity and say, “Behold my glory!”

How does this speak to FOMO? It brings incredible weight and significance to your life no matter how mundane your weekend looks and no matter what other people are doing without you. God has chosen you and redeemed you in Jesus so that you are now showcasing His grace and wisdom regardless of whether you are in those pictures on Facebook surrounded by smiling friends at the lake, at home with a sick kid, or picking up an extra shift for a coworker. Because of Jesus, we will never miss out on the most glorious purpose human beings can possess, and we don’t have to be somewhere special doing something memorable for it to be true

Note: This article originally appeared on We encourage you to visit the Center for Biblical Counseling and Discipleship where you can find helpful, biblical resources by a number of trusted pastors and authors.

Brent Osterberg




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