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Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God's Will Paperback – April 1, 2009
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"God told me that He wants you to read this book. Actually, that is one of the many mistaken notions about God's will that Kevin DeYoung wants to correct."
Collin Hansen, Editorial Director, The Gospel Coalition
"The truth is that God is more committed to showing you His will than you are to discovering it. This book shows that discovering God's will happens not as we 'let go and let God,' but as we trust God and get going."
Tullian Tchividjian, Senior Pastor, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church
"DeYoung explains so well what Oswald Chambers wrote a century ago, 'Trust God and do the next thing.' Sadly, our wrongheaded search for the elusive 'will of God' often prevents us from doing both. This book will help correct the problem."
Gerald L. Sittser, Professor of Theology, Whitworth University
"I try to keep a stack of these handy because it's my easy-to-read, practical, go-to help for people discerning God's will for their lives."
Thabiti Anyabwile, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman
"One of the best books on guidance I've read."
Mark Dever, Senior Pastor, Capitol Hill Baptist Church
"False understandings of God's will infect so much of popular Christianity. The church desperately needs a rescue from this confusion. Thankfully, Kevin DeYoung offers that much needed rescue in 'Just Do Something.' Live the title to God's glory, but read this excellent book first."
Albert Mohler, President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
From the Back Cover
Hyper-spiritual approaches to finding God's will don't work. It's time to try something new: give up.
Pastor and author Kevin DeYoung counsels Christians to settle down, make choices, and do the hard work of seeing those choices through.
Too often, he writes, God's people tinker around with churches, jobs, and relationships, worrying that they haven't found God's perfect will for their lives. Or-even worse-they do absolutely nothing, stuck in a frustrated state of paralyzed indecision, waiting...waiting...waiting for clear, direct, unmistakable direction.
But God doesn't need to tell us what to do at each fork in the road. He's already revealed His plan for our lives: to love Him with our whole hearts, to obey His Word, and after that, to do what we like.
No need for hocus-pocus. No reason to be directionally challenged. Just do something.
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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.
In Just Do Something, Kevin DeYoung says that God does not expect us to discern His secret will while waiting to zap us if we choose the wrong door. Rather, He gives us the wisdom and latitude to make our own choices:
"Live for God. Obey the Scriptures. Think of others before yourself. Be holy. Love Jesus. And as you do these things, do whatever else you like, with whomever you like, wherever you like, and you'll be walking in the will of God."
Augustine summed it up like this: "Love God and do as you please."
This approach is liberating. Christians don't have to grope about afraid that they might miss the "center of God's will." No more seeking signs or impressions. No throwing down of fleeces, or interpreting dreams, or flipping for random Bible verses. Instead, read the Scriptures, seek godly council, pray, and just do something.
DeYoung's message may seem harsh to his (and my) generation. What some call "waiting on the Lord" may be nothing more than procrastination, laziness, irresponsibility, or cowardice. Some of the older, more "stodgy" readers, on the other hand, may not appreciate DeYoung's casual and often humorous writing style. But I found this book to be the most practical and helpful that I have read this year.
Do you agonize over decisions? Have you grown frustrated in seeking God's will for your life? Have you put off doing anything for fear of doing the wrong thing? Then this book is for you.
Kevin DeYoung is the senior pastor of University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan.