Sunday, November 3, 2013

Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach To Finding God’s Will (Review)

Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach To Finding God’s Will by Kevin DeYoung. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2009. 124 pages.

Summary

Those who search for God’s will before accepting a job, choosing a career/educational path, or waiting for the right marriage partner, risk entering a perpetual cycle of inaction while waiting to hear from God. Just Do Something is written to help Christians understand how to discern God’s will in such matters so that the reader will “get off the long road to nowhere” and make a decision (p.14).

These decisions are made easier by understanding three aspects of God’s will: His will of decree, His will of desire, and His will of direction. Believers trust that God’s sovereign will of decree has ordained all things for His purpose, understanding that God does not generally reveal these secrets beforehand. His will of desire is revealed through commands in His Word “that we are meant to know and obey” (p.23). When one follows God’s commands he can be assured of walking in God’s will. God’s will of direction concerns “nonethical” decisions; meaning decisions “between two or more options, none of which is forbidden in Scripture” (p.45). Nonethical decisions include choices between jobs, colleges, where to live, among many other choices, and are often hand-wringing choices for the conscientious Christian who wants to discern God’s will.

DeYoung argues that such decisions can be made with little angst. Instead of waiting for God to speak audibly or waiting for a sign—as some are inclined to do—Christians can be assured of following God’s will in these important decisions by first seeking God’s kingdom. This means living “a profoundly God-centered approach to life” in obedience to God’s Word (God’s will of desire), receiving counsel from godly people, praying, and growing toward Christ-likeness (p.89). Living a God-centered life equips Christians to make wise decisions in nonethical dilemmas. Those who live this way will discover that “The decision to be in God’s will is not the choice between Memphis or Fargo or engineering or art; it’s the daily decision we face to seek God’s kingdom or ours, submit to His lordship or not, live according to His rules or our own” (p. 57).

Critique and Application
Just Do Something is a short but helpful guide for Christians who struggle to make nonmoral decisions. If this is you, then this book will indeed be a liberating approach to discovering God’s will. From beginning to end, DeYoung explains the nature of God’s will clearly and with clever illustrations that demonstrate the inherent dangers of seeking God’s will in an unwise manner, while pointing the reader to a better way—a biblical way that challenges Christians to approach all of life’s decisions through a Christ-centered filter. All who read this book will be blessed to discover that God “does not burden us with the task of divining His will of direction for our lives ahead of time” (p.24).

One glaring negative is that DeYoung never addresses the non-Christian. This seems to be a critical oversight, as one cannot rightly discern God’s will without first accepting Christ as Lord and Savior. As such, DeYoung misses a great opportunity to share the gospel and to engage a non-believing audience, thereby limiting the reach of the book. Still, this is a great book to put into the hands of any Christian who routinely struggles with making nonethical decisions, especially high school, college, and young adult Christians.

The first application of this book for me is putting the material to good use when counseling those who struggle to make decisions for fear of missing out on God’s will. This material gives me a better frame of reference for helping others see how nonethical choices can be made to God’s glory. This book will be a helpful resource in that endeavor. Secondly, from this point forward I will discern with greater wisdom how God speaks to me through “open doors, fleeces, random Bible verses, and impressions” (p.77). In what was perhaps the most helpful chapter of the book, DeYoung impressed upon me how to use these resources wisely and the importance of doing so, for these “tools can be used wisely. And all four can [also] be instruments of foolishness” (p.77).

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