“I feel like God wants me to be alone for a while.”
“I’m waiting for God to open a door to the right job.”
“If I choose this school, will I be going against God’s will for my life?”
We’ve all statements like these before. Whether it’s dating and marriage, the quest for the perfect job, what college to go to or where to buy a house, many Christians get hung up on the question of God’s will: Is it God’s will that I do XYZ? What is God’s will for my life and how can I know what it is? While it’s good to be concerned about living a life that glorifies God, sometimes we spend too much time navel-gazing when we really ought to just do something!
That, in a nutshell, is the point of Kevin DeYoung’s book, 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.. DeYoung is greatly concerned about the “tinkerer” generation, those of us in the 35 and under age group who try a lot of different things, but commit to very little in the end. “Too many of us have passed off our instability, inconsistency, and endless self-exploration as ‘looking for God’s will,’ as if not making up our minds and meandering through life were marks of spiritual sensitivity… We’re tinkering around with everyone and everything. Instead, when it comes to our future, we should take some responsibility, make a decision, and just do something” (p. 15).
In this very short book, DeYoung reveals to his readers the heart of the issue: We make following God’s will far harder than it needs to be, because we’re looking for the wrong thing. Instead of looking at God’s revealed will of decree (meaning that what He ordains will come to pass) and His will of desire (what He desires from His creatures), we seek to divine His will of direction. DeYoung explains, “God does have a specific plan for our lives, but it is not one that He expects us to figure out before we make a decision…[W]e should stop thinking of God’s will like a corn maze or a tight-rope, or a bull’s eye, or a choose-your-own adventure novel” (pp. 24-25, emphasis in original).
We do this for a few different reasons:
- We want to please God, although our misdirected piety makes following Him more mysterious than it’s supposed to be.
- Some of us are simply, by our nature, quite timid, and prone to be too cautious.
- Some of us are searching for perfect fulfillment in this life, ignoring the fact that perfect fulfillment does not exist on this side of eternity. Because every experience and event must be rewarding, every decision in life takes on weighty significance.
- We have too many choices; we are overburdened by options and thus cannot make a decision for fear of making the wrong one and missing out. “Our freedom to do anything and go anywhere ends up feeling like bondage more than liberty” (p. 37).
- Finally, we might just be cowards. We want to know that everything is going to be fine before we do anything; but that’s not how God operates. We forget that God is all-knowing and all-powerful and He has planned out every detail of our lives for our good (Eccl. 7:14). “God doesn’t take risks, so we can” (p. 41).
Instead of being controlled by these ideas, and instead of treating God as though He were a Magic-8 Ball, DeYoung encourages us to remember that God has already revealed His will for our lives in Scripture: “For this is the will of God, your sanctification” (1 Thes. 4:3). The sum total of what we need to know about God’s will for our lives is that we are to grow in the image and likeness of Christ. To live holy, set-apart lives, being obedient to the Scriptures and thankful to God in all circumstances.
Seems so uncomplicated, doesn’t it?
I really appreciated reading Just Do Something, because I’ve been caught up in the question of God’s will of direction more than I’d care to admit and seen how unfruitful a pursuit it’s been for me. Instead of looking to the answer of what seems good to the Holy Spirit and to me (Acts 15:28), I’ve been prone to spend too much time looking for a clear and direct answer when there isn’t always one. This has been the big struggle for me in trying to lead our family, because I’m terrified to make a mistake. But, instead of being seen to be appropriately cautious on some decisions, I end up just being indecisive. And indecision only leads to irritation in the Armstrong home.
Kevin DeYoung has done the Christian community a great service by writing Just Do Something. This book is practical, witty and extremely helpful. If you worry endlessly about the question of God’s will, read this book—then, stop worrying, make a decision and just do something.
Title: 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.
Author: Kevin DeYoung
Publisher: Moody Publishers (2009)