(Audio)Book Review: Found: God’s Will by John MacArthur

Title: Found: God’s Will (Find the Direction and Purpose God Wants for Your Life)
Author: John MacArthur
Publisher: David C. Cook (Revised Edition: 1998)

“What is God’s will?” So many of us ask this question at various points in our lives. Searching for a new job. Considering marriage. Ministry opportunities. College.

But can we know for certain what is God’s will for our lives, specifically? Yes, says John MacArthur in Found: God’s Will. In fact, the answer will seem so shocking that you might need to “jump up out of your seat and shout!”

So what is God’s will for our lives? In this very short book, MacArthur carefully examines the Scriptures and reveals that God has made His will quite clear.

God’s will for us is that we are to be:

  1. Saved. God is “not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (1 Peter 3:9);
  2. Spirit-Filled. Our lives will be guided by the Holy Spirit as we are careful to study and listen to God’s Word and persist in prayer (see Acts 4:8, 13:9; Eph 5:18);
  3. Sanctified. God’s will for our lives is that we grow holiness, putting sin to death and growing in Christlike character (Romans 6:19; 1 Thessalonians 4:3);
  4. Submissive. God’s will is that we obey the authorities He has placed over us, whether godly or ungodly. This is crucial to our witness as Christians in the world. The only time when we may disobey is when those authorities command us to do what God forbids, or to not do what God commands (see Romans 13:1; 1 Peter 2:13-25; Acts 4:19); and
  5. Suffering. God’s will for our lives is that as we follow Christ in this world we will suffer for Christ. “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you,” said Jesus in John 15:18.

These five principles are crucial elements to God’s will for our lives. MacArthur handles the Scriptures with great care (as is to be expected). What impressed me though was MacArthur’s brevity. Found: God’s Will clocks in at a mere 64 pages. This is impressive on two fronts.

The first is that there are no wasted words. MacArthur stays on point and makes every illustration relevant. The second I’ll get to in a moment.

MacArthur opened the book telling us that we can know God’s specific will for each of us personally. So how about it? The principles above are clear, however,  they don’t deal with me specifically. How can I know what God’s will is for me in my career, marriage, and ministry?

MacArthur answers succinctly: “Do what you want.”

This might sound surprising, but here’s the thing: If these five principles are characteristic of your life—if you are saved, Spirit-filled, being sanctified, submissive and willing to suffer for our Lord, you can do what you like. Here’s why: As we delight ourselves in the Lord, “he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). Now, this obviously doesn’t mean He’ll give us anything and everything we want. What it means is that He will give us our desires, and consequently what we desire, because our desires will, in fact, be His.

Now this is a principle that is certainly open for abuse. I mean, people try to pass off sinful actions as God’s will for their lives all the time. For example: How many times have we heard a variation of this: “I’m really connecting with the girl at the office, so obviously God doesn’t want me to stay in my marriage. We’re miserable.”

Here’s the thing: Because our desires are given to us by God and as we grow increasingly in Christ-likeness, we will be able to identify which desires are from Him and which are remnants of our sin nature. So if you’re finding you’re desire is to cheat on your wife—chances are it’s not from God. If you’re desire is to move to Canada to serve as a missionary among the people of the Great White North, it might just be from Him.

That leads me to the second impressive point about this book: Because God’s Word is so clear on these five points, we can rejoice! We don’t need to go through an existential crisis about every decision in our lives (even the big ones!). We have to examine for ourselves what the Bible says, and likewise examine ourselves in light of the Truth. This is something that, I hope, readers will find incredibly freeing.

A final word about the audio version of this book. I’ve been continually impressed with the work that Christian Audio has done on their audiobooks. The quality is clear and the narration is excellent. I was actually quite impressed with the choice of narrator on this book as he sounds a fair bit like John MacArthur.

God’s will for your life is no secret. It can be known because He has made it plain. And in Found: God’s Will, John MacArthur provides Christians with a valuable tool to help them understand it for themselves.

A complementary copy of the audio version of this book was provided by Christian Audio for review purposes.

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