To begin, let me say that this book has maybe the greatest subtitle ever:
Just Do Something: How to Make a Decision Without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing in the Sky, Etc.
You’ve got to admit that that’s a pretty great subtitle!
But – if you can believe it – the book is even better! There are two unique things about my reading this book: (1) it was recommended by the great Kevin Griggs and (2) it holds the distinction of being the first book I read on my Amazon Kindle! (Thank you, Mrs. Richardson, for such a great birthday present!)
Anyway, I digress.
Kevin DeYoung wants to demystify and de-hocus-pocus all of the “will of God” talk that is part and parcel of the evangelical landscape. “How can I know God’s will? Is it God’s will for me to take this job…marry that person…buy this dog as opposed to that dog…see Robin Hood this weekend?”
He is not, of course, arguing that God does not have a will. Rather, He is arguing that God is not a sadistic trickster who craftily hides His will in such a way that His people literally have to go crazy trying to put the puzzle pieces in the right place.
DeYoung does a few brilliant things in this book. First of all, he wonders aloud why it is that there is such a fevered pitch to know God’s will about matters like vocation and marriage, but so little passion to obey God’s clear will about loving Jesus and being conformed to His character? Furthermore, DeYoung suggests that it is by walking in the clearly revealed will of God on these matters that we are equipped to make wise decisions on the less-clear matters. Finally, DeYoung argues that God-given wisdom and common sense are good tools from our Heavenly Father to equip us to make decisions.
DeYoung argues that our uncertainty about the non-moral and less-clear aspects of God’s will can tie us in knots, whereas Christ came to set us free.
“If there really is a perfect will of God we are meant to discover, in which we will find tremendous freedom and fulfillment, why does it seem that everyone looking for God’s will is in such bondage and confusion? Christ died to give us freedom from the law (Galatians 5:1), so why turn the will of God into another law leading to slavery? And, to make matters worse, this law is personalized, invisible, and indecipherable; whereas the Mosaic law (which was hard enough already), was at least objective, public, and understandable. What a burden. Expecting God, through our subjective sense of things, to point the way for every decision we face, no matteer how trivial, is not only impractical and unrealistic, it is a recipe for disappointment and false guilt. And that’s hardly what intimacy with Jesus should be all about.”
Freedom in the area of knowing God’s will means thinking clearly as a Christian and making a decision based on the knowledge you have. This is in contrast to wringing your hands and torturing your Christian friends with year-after-year-after-year wrangling about, “Yeah, but how do I know this is God’s will!”
“At the rate some of us are going, we will be exploring our future career at thirty, entering adulthood at forty, trying to find ourselves at fifty, questioning everything again at sixty, pondering a career move at seventy, wondering what we were made for at eighty, and still waiting to discover God’s will at ninety. And then we’ll die, never having done much of anything. If we had done something—almost anything, really—faithfully and humbly and for God’s glory for all that time, we could have made quite an impact. But if we do nothing, because we are always trying to figure out the perfect something, when it comes time to show what we did for the Lord, we will not have anything.”
Again, DeYoung is not arguing against praying for and seeking God’s will. He just wants Christians to stop acting like God’s will is an elusive needle in a haystack that you have to find after years of sleepless nights and ulcers. So “man up!”, as they say, and love Jesus and act rightly and take joy in the Lord…and do something.
This is an excellent book and one that anybody (but maybe especially young adults) would benefit from.