As a Christian, it can occasionally feel that there is a long list of things that we can’t participate in. Whether it’s programs that we would like to watch or places we would love to attend, there is potential to be apprehensive as to what a Christian can engage in. In current culture, there appears to be greater emphasis on freedom in Christ and this is great news. Christianity should not merely be viewed as a religion that tells you what you can’t do without declaring all the things you now can. However, have we misunderstood what this freedom allows us to do? And are we using this freedom to engage in activities we ought not to because we are worried we will miss out on the latest trend?
Cool is a poor barometer
Trip Lee speaking at the Q conference gave a talk on why Christians shouldn’t be cool. He argues that ‘what is cool’ is a poor barometer to judge things by since what is deemed as cool is always changing. Instead, Trip Lee proclaims that we should choose reverence over what is cool, that is, to pursue holiness the standard that never changes. The danger of pursuing what is cool is that we negate discerning whether what we want to do is actually good. Whilst there is a particular gift of discernment, where a person will have the supernatural gift of deciphering what spirit is of God and what spirit is of the devil (1 Corinthians 12:10), every believer is expected to discern what is good and evil (Psalm 119:9, Matthew 10:16). Holiness is our barometer for living, not what is cool or popular within the culture (1 Peter 1:15). Ask yourself is my fear of missing out (FOMO) fuelled by the fear of not being seen as cool?
Fear God, not man
Whilst some people may have no fear of being cool, they may have fear of man. Fear of what others will think, fear that they may be accused of being too legalistic or fear of being labelled boring. Whilst these fears are understandable, they are still sinful. These fears declare that what human beings think or feel are above what God thinks or feels. Jesus has a word for us who have these fears “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). Contextually, Jesus was talking about persecution however we can apply it to the occasions where we may participate in things we ought not to because we fear what man would say. Jesus says fear God, don’t fear man. The worst that a human can do to you is kill you, and if you’re in Christ, to die is gain anyway (Philippians 1:21).
Satisfied with Christ
A maxim that I grew up with was “it’s not everything they do you must do”, as many of these African proverbs, there is much wisdom we can glean from them. As Christians it’s not every show we can watch, motive we can go to and conversation we can participate in. In Christ, we have been raised to new life (Romans 6:4, Colossians 3:1), been given a new mind (1 Corinthians 2:16) to live in a new way (2 Corinthians 5:17). With this new life we have in Christ we should have a taste for new delights. This doesn’t mean that we can’t do anything that unbelievers do, what it does mean is that there should be a clear distinction between those in Christ and those who are not (Acts 11:26). When we were in darkness we pursued sin but now that we have been illuminated with the light of the gospel our new pursuit is the glory of God (2 Corinthians 4:3-6). If this is the case then everything we do has to be with the aim of making much of Jesus who didn’t just save us from sin, but now through Him, we are adopted by God as beloved children (Romans 8:12-17). Beloved children have tasted and seen that God is good (Psalm 34:8) and when you have, you realise that the things of the world no longer have the same flavour they once did.
To find out more about battling with FOMO, listen to the latest episode of On The Table below: