FOMO: the fear of missing out.
FOMO can cause anxiety and lead to making decisions based on avoiding that feeling of anxiety. We don’t like feeling like we are missing out!
That is exactly what happened to Eve in the garden of Eden. Satan tricked her into thinking she was missing out on something and then she made a very bad decision.
Eve had a specific form of FOMO , thanks to the serpent. He told her that eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil would make her wise. Eve took the bait.
She wanted to KNOW things that God had not allowed her to know previously. She wanted to be wise like God.
The desire to know things can become all-consuming and actually make us more fearful. What can we do?
Well, let us see what the Bible says about ‘knowledge’ and ‘wisdom’.
17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
Genesis 2:16-18 KJV
2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.Genesis 2:4-3:24
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.James 3:2-8
13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.
14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.
15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.James 3:13-15
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,Proverbs 3:5-8
and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
7 Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
8 It will be healing to your flesh
and refreshment to your bones.
What do we see in these verses?
- There is good wisdom and bad wisdom.
- Helpful wisdom should strengthen our faith and bring refreshment to our bones, not fear.
- Those who are given wisdom should be meek, not prideful.
There are many false teachers and self-professed prophets that have gathered huge followings and made a lot of money by promising them insider information. People who are very afraid are easy prey to these people. This was the method of QAnon (an anonymous teacher is never trustworthy) and it is being used by hundreds of Youtubers and websites the claim to know things that the rest of the world doesn’t.
Believing fake news about the moon landing may not hurt you, but believing the wrong things about God (anything that contradicts or adds to the scriptures) is a very dangerous thing. Anyone who claims to know exactly when Jesus is returning is lying.
In Bible times there was a group of people who claimed to have secret information based on revelations. There were called ‘gnostics’ which means ‘to know‘. Gnostics created a different religion and mixed in some truth about God and Jesus to give it validity, similar to other cults.
This helpful article explains it well. “Salvation: Gnosticism claims hidden knowledge as the basis for salvation. Adherents believed that secret revelation frees the “divine spark” within humans, allowing the human soul to return to the divine realm of light in which it belongs. Gnostics, thus, divided Christians into two categories with one group being carnal (inferior) and the other being spiritual (superior). Only the superior, divinely enlightened persons could comprehend the secret teachings and obtain true salvation.”
Gnostics are alive and active today in our culture as part of the New Age religions. This article, The dark god of Gnostic progressive spirituality, goes into great detail about the roots and leaders of the various groups. The theory of Evolution seems to have been a reason to cast doubt on the truth of the Bible.
Some of the gnostics hold beliefs that are very much like so-called Progressive Christians . Others are even more into pagan beliefs and practices. A common theme is that ‘God is in all of us and everything’.
“The term “gnostic” derives from “gnosis,” which means “knowledge” in Greek. The Gnostics believed that they were privy to a secret knowledge about the divine, hence the name. (Huxley coined “agnosticism” on the basis that all knowledge must be based on reason. We cannot rationally claim to have access to knowledge that is beyond the powers of the intellect.)”http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/gnostics.html
“Gnosticism is based on two false premises. First, it espouses a dualism regarding spirit and matter. Gnostics assert that matter is inherently evil and spirit is good. As a result of this presupposition, Gnostics believe anything done in the body, even the grossest sin, has no meaning because real life exists in the spirit realm only.
Second, Gnostics claim to possess an elevated knowledge, a “higher truth” known only to a certain few.
Seeking special information can start off as an honest attempt to know God better and be a ‘good Christian’. But it can turn into something harmful if we are not careful.
Are you seeking to know things that are not in the scriptures? Are you becoming prideful about knowing more than others or fearful about not knowing enough?
Are you ‘leaning on your own understanding’ rather than having the ‘faith of a child’?
This is not saying anything against the Holy Spirit. He never contradicts God.
The key point is that God has already revealed all we need to know about Him through Jesus. He may indeed reveal things to prophets and especially in the last days. But these things MUST align with the scriptures and should not cause you increased anxiety or pride.
Ask God to show you by the Holy Spirit if you have become involved with anything that is earthly (see verses above) or evil and be willing to repent. Compare it the scriptures.
God wants us to trust HIM as he has revealed himself in creation and his Word. He has proved himself over and over as a good and sovereign God. When we believe our salvation is through grace alone, we can put our trust in Him and not need to seek any secret knowledge.
If you are following someone, a pastor, teacher, book, movement, ask yourself these questions:
- Do I trust God more after reading or listening to them?
- Do I feel urgent to listen to them and upset if I miss an episode?
- Am I spending time reading the Bible and praying?
- Am I intentionally sharing the gospel and loving my neighbor?
- Do I feel like I can STOP following this person and still be secure in my knowledge of God?
- Is my faith in God alone, even without access to this teacher?
Not all seeking knowledge is FOMO or a sin! But our heart motives are very important.
In all our seeking for truth, we can rest in the knowledge that God is in control.
This is a great video. In it Amir Tsarfati uses scripture to explain the difference between things that happen before the Day of the Lord or Great Tribulation and what will happen during that time. He explains that we do not know the date and that certain things must happen first and warns about false prophets.