A Question of Choice

This question was posed in Kevin DeYoung’s Just Do Something, and, because it’s been stuck in my head for a couple of weeks now, I thought I’d ask you:

Imagine if someone came to you tonight and said, “I’ll pay off all your bills, I’ll pay off your mortgage. I’ll load up your Roth IRA. I’ll give you money for vacations. I’ll give you 20,000 square feet to live in, and any care you like, or I can make you wise.” What would you say to that person?

Leave your thoughts in the comments thread.

Book Review: Just Do Something

just do something

“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:

  1. We want to please God, although our misdirected piety makes following Him more mysterious than it’s supposed to be.
  2. Some of us are simply, by our nature, quite timid, and prone to be too cautious.
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
  5. 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)

Sunday Shorts (06/14)

Josh Harris: My Run-in with Borat

A great story on the need for discernment:

Thoughts on Evangelical Superstardom

Kevin DeYoung offers a very insightful follow-up to John Piper’s recent article on Hero Worship v. Holy Emulation. Here’s an extremely important excerpt:

[D]on’t like someone just because others do, and don’t dislike someone just because others like him. Both are dangers in a celebrity culture. Some people wait on the corner just looking for bandwagons they can hop on. Others–the too cool for school crowd–have a dire fear of being a part of something popular. These folks decide to dislike an author or pastor or speaker or band or movie just because all their friends rave about them. I understand the reaction, but you don’t have to be a groupie to be edified. Don’t like Calvinism or Piper or Driscoll or whatever because it’s cool. And don’t be the cynical I-hate-labels, why-are-Christians-such-lemmings person either. Give thanks for godliness where you see it, the gospel where you hear it, and good examples when you can find them.

Read the whole article at Kevin’s blog.

The Perfect Technology

Tim Challies wrote this enjoyable article on why he feels books are the perfect technology:

…there is more to a book than its words. A book is an experience, and the experience includes the media through which we consume those words. Reading a book printed on paper, reading a book on a reading device and listening to a recording of a book are, at least in some way, different experiences.

Read the rest at Challies.com.

In case you missed it

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

The Persevering Prophet: I Know the Plans I Have for You Exploring the meaning of that famous coffee-cup verse, Jeremiah 29:11.

Book Review: Agape Leadership Reviewing spiritual leadership lessons from the life of RC Chapman.

Made in the Image of God: Choice How humanity images God through the ability to make choices

I Have No Words Zack Morris(!) appears on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. I am shocked that Mark-Paul Gosselaar didn’t break character once.

Sunday Shorts (06/07)

Doug Phillips: Hey, I’m No Theologian…

Doug Phillips posted a terrific article about the importance of theology. Here are a few snippets:

We are all theologians.

Whether or not we think about God and his will, etc., in ways that are faithful to his Word substantially determines whether or not we will relate to Him in ways that are actually pleasing to Him (cp. Col. 1:9-11). Are we the kind of worshipers he actually seeks and wants? (Jn.4:22-24).

Authentic spiritual transformation is dependent on increasingly bringing our thinking (and ‘theologizing’) increasingly in line with Scripture. We are transformed, Paul says, by the renewing of our mind. And our Lord says that sanctification occurs in connection with the truth – the truth of God’s Word.

Read the whole thing.

HT: Kevin DeYoung

Advance09 Session MP3s Online

Not able to make it to Advance this week? Enjoy the sessions from your iPod.

Download them here.

How Tim Keller Found Manhattan

The cover story for this month’s Christianity Today profiles Pastor Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian. Here’s the intro:

When Tim Keller came to Manhattan in 1989, New York City had a well-deserved reputation as a snarling, scary place. Violent crime, drug dealing, and other urban pathologies had weakened or chased off many of the faithful. While a barely perceptible renewal was under way, it seemed as if the few remaining orthodox Protestants were huddled together in historic buildings. All of Keller’s formal pastoral experience had happened in a small, blue-collar town in Virginia.

Yet today, almost 20 years later, he steps onstage before a packed auditorium at Hunter College on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. His church, Redeemer Presbyterian, has five crowded Sunday services in three rented locations—Keller dashes between them—with an average total attendance of 5,000. The service at Hunter is the largest, the “tourist service.” (For many years, Redeemer deliberately avoided publicity, but word has spread lately, and Keller estimates that hundreds of out-of-towners show up each Sunday.) Well over 2,000 people—mainly young whites and Asians you would expect to be sleeping off a late Saturday night—have come to this morning’s service.

Read the rest at ChristianityToday.com

In case you missed it

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

The Challenge: What Have I Learned? What did 40 days without podcasts and theology books teach me?

Book Review: Love or Die Reviewing a wonderful book on the need to return to the love we had at first.

Made in the Image of God: Wisdom, Emotions and Morality A look at how humanity images God through our thoughts, emotions and morality

The Persevering Prophet: My Heart is Sick! Jeremiah addresses the source of human depravity: The heart.

Sunday Shorts (05/31)

Just Do Something: A short interview with Kevin DeYoung

Over at Buzzard Blog, they’re featuring a brief interview with Kevin DeYoung, author of Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will. Look for a review of this book here in the next few weeks.

And: Words and Deeds

Hunter Beaumont at The Resurgence offers wise counsel on the relationship between our words and our actions.

Strangely, many emerging pastors say that if a church effectively embodies the gospel, then preaching becomes less important. Others fear that if we welcome unbelievers, we have to water down the message. In reality, just the opposite is true!

Read the rest at The Resurgence.

Should We Use Twitter During Church?

John Piper and Josh Harris both agree: No, probably not. Read both of their reasons why at their respective blogs.

Did you know…

Blogging Theologically is now available for your Kindle. If you’re so inclined, you can subscribe at Amazon.com

In case you missed it

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

The Persevering Prophet: Harsh Language A look at the harsh language that the Bible uses to describe sin.

Made in the Image of God: Relationship and Responsibility Looking at how humanity images God through our relationships and different responsibilities.

Week Five: Am I an Adrenaline Junkie? What I’m learning during my fast from podcasts and theology books.

Bono in a Bathrobe?

Regardless of the topic, everyone has an opinion. The other day, I ran across a great quote (courtesy of Kevin DeYoung via Josh Harris) on a certain someone that I know everyone has an opinion on: Jesus, and specifically His popularity.

“Jesus is popular with a lot of people today because they view him as Bono in a bathrobe.”

So, what do you think? Is Jesus popular with a lot of people because they view him as Bono in a bathrobe? Is there more to it for most?

Discuss.

Sunday Shorts (04/12)

Easter Sunday live from Mars Hill

Mars Hill Church in Seattle is live-streaming their Easter Sunday services. If you’re on the road and unable to celebrate with your church, or you’re just curious about what a Mars Hill service looks like, you can watch online at marshillchurch.org/live.

The Origins of the Easter Bunny

If you’ve ever wondered where the Easter bunny came from, The Resurgence has provided an interesting article.

Just Do Something!

Tim Challies provides a helpful review of Kevin DeYoung’s latest book, Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will:

Kevin DeYoung takes on this challenge and succeeds admirably, crafting a short but powerful book that really packs a punch. His unique angle is reflected in the title: Just Do Something! “My goal,” he says, “is not as much to tell you how to hear God’s voice in making decisions as it is to hear God telling you to get off the long road to nowhere and finally make a decision, get a job, and perhaps, get married.” He fears that many Christians, because of their unbliblical understanding of knowing and doing the will of God, are wasting their lives doing nothing when they should just be doing, well, something! “I’d like us to consider that maybe we have difficulty discovering Gods wonderful plan for our lives because, if the truth be told, He doesn’t really intend to tell us what it is. And maybe we’re wrong to expect Him to.”

Piper on God’s Sovereignty and Human Responsibility