“Just Do Something” Book Review

Do SomethingI have finished the book, Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will, Or, How to Make a Decision Without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Impressions, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing in the Sky, Etc. by Kevin DeYoung.

What is the book about?  Well, the title tends to tell it all; but in case you missed it, it is about finding God’s will without over or hyper-spiritualizing the process into one of inaction and indecision.

I give the book 4 out of 5 stars for the following reasons: (1) It is well thought through and reasoned out.  (2) It can be an excellent book for those who tend to waffle or delay decisions in the name of “not knowing if this is God’s will for me” or “I don’t want to do anything out of my self”.  (3) The book brings the reader to the Bible & to God’s will of sanctification in our lives. (4) The author doesn’t tend to mince words so it is easy to understand what the point is of each chapter. (5) On the slight negative, I feel that DeYoung overly downplays the active role of the Spirit’s speaking (though he does rightly point out people are often too subjective & uncertain when it comes to whether something is from God or ourselves), even though he does attempt to balance this out in a couple chapters.

Here are some excellent excerpts from the book to give you a taste & maybe a desire to read the book in its entirety:

Introductory Thoughts:

“This book is about God’s will – God’s will for confused teenagers, burned-out parents, retired grandparents, and, yes, tinkering millennials…or whatever we’re called…My goal is not as much to tell you how to hear God’s voice in making decisions as it is to help you hear God telling you to get off the long road to nowhere and finally make a decision, get a job, and perhaps, get married” (p 14).

“I realize that I am not dealing with the massive question of how God can decree all that comes to pass while also holding us responsible for our actions.  That’s the old divine sovereignty and human responsibility question.  The Bible clearly affirms both…Both sides of God’s will are in Scripture.  God’s will of decree – what He has predetermined from eternity past – cannot be thwarted.  God’s will of desire – the way He wants us to live – cannot be disregarded …Deuteronomy 29:29…is the closest we come to finding the will of decree and will of desire side by side in the same verse. God has secret things known only to Him (His inscrutable purposes and sovereign will), but He also has revealed things that we are meant to know and obey (His commands and His Word)” (pp 21-23).

“There’s a third way in which we sometimes speak of God’s will.  Most of the time what we really are looking for is God’s will of direction…What does God want me to do with my life? What job should I take? Where should I live? Those are the questions we ask when we seek God’s will of direction…Trusting in God’s will of decree is good. Following His will of desire is obedient.  Waiting for God’s will of direction is a mess.  It is bad for your life, harmful to your sanctification, and allows too many Christians to be passive tinkerers who strangely feel more spiritual the less they actually do…The better way is the biblical way: Seek first the kingdom of God, and then trust that He will take care of our needs, even before we know what they are and where we’re going” (pp 24-26).

Some (But Not Nearly All) of the Main Points

“My fear is that of all the choices people face today, the one they rarely consider is, “How can I serve more effectively and fruitfully in the local church?” I wonder if the abundance of opportunities to explore today is doing less to help make well-rounded disciples of Christ and more to help Christians avoid long-term responsibility and have less long-term impact” (pp 36-37).

“[Specific] step-by-step instruction is not usually how God operates.  His way is to show His holiness, declare us holy in Christ, then exhort us to grow in holiness in daily life.  That’s God’s will of desire for you.  And that’s His will of direction too [1 Thessalonians 4:3]” (p 58).

“The will of God for our lives is that we seek His kingdom and His righteousness.  The most important decision we face is the daily decision to live for Christ and die to self” (p 63).

“[Let] me be clear: I believe God guides us in decision making.  But note the key word there: “God guides us in decision making.”  I did not say, “God expects us to discover His plan for our lives.”  The difference between the two sentences is huge.  We are not talking about how God reveals to us ahead of time every decision we must make in life.  Yes it’s proper for Christians to pray to God and seek wisdom from God when we face decisions, even nonethical decisions.  That’s not a bad idea.  What is a bad idea is treating nonethical decisions as weightier than they really are because you think that there is One Right Answer that you must discover” (p 64).

“[The] Bible is not a casebook.  It doesn’t give us explicit information about dating or careers or when to build a church or buy a house.  We’ve all wished that the Bible was that kind of book, but it’s not because God is interested in more than getting us to follow His to-do list; He wants transformation.  God doesn’t want us to merely give external obedience to His commands.  He wants us to know Him so intimately that His thoughts become our thoughts, His ways our ways, His affections our affections.  God want us to drink so deeply of the Scriptures that our heads and hearts are transformed so that we love what He loves and hate what He hates” (pp 91-92).

“God’s will for your life and my life is simpler, harder, and easier…Simpler, because there are no secrets we must discover.  Harder, because denying ourselves, living for others, and obeying God is more difficult than taking a new job and moving to Fargo.  Easier, because as Augustine said, God commands what He wills and grants what He commands…So the end of the matter is this: 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” (pp 121-122).

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One thought on ““Just Do Something” Book Review

  1. Pingback: Name Your God « Seth's Oasis

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