Reviewed by: David J. Harr
Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God's Will, by Kevin DeYoung. Published by Moody, 2009. Paperback, 128 pages, list price $10.99. Reviewed by OP pastor David J. Harr.
What is God's will for my life? This is perhaps the most frequently asked and most frequently misunderstood question in the church today. Kevin DeYoung, senior pastor of University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan, tries to answer it. The result is a helpful little book that is biblical, easy to read, and thought provoking.
While acknowledging that the book's principles apply to everyone, DeYoung takes special aim at his generation (and mine): twenty- and thirty-somethings. "Our grandparents built. Our parents boomed. And my generation? We tinker … tinker with doctrines, tinker with churches, tinker with girlfriends and boyfriends, tinker with college majors, tinker living in and out of their parents' basement" (p. 12). Popular notions of "finding God's will" make the situation worse. Fear of "missing God's best" results in passivity and extended adolescence. DeYoung's biblical counsel is simple: just do something.
Chapter 2 takes on the biblical use of the term "the will of God." God has a will of decree and a moral will. But God does not have a secret will of decision, an individual plan for each Christian that is to be divined through "dreams, visions, fleeces, impressions, open doors, random Bible verses, casting lots, liver shivers, writing in the sky, etc." (to use the language of the book's sub-subtitle). DeYoung devotes an entire chapter to showing how these "tools of the trade" are usually utilized in an unbiblical and foolish manner.
A biblical method of decision making is laid before the reader as Scripture points to a "better way." The Holy Spirit uses Scripture to teach us God's moral will and make us wise, so that we might act boldly and decisively.
DeYoung then applies this biblical method to the "two choices that tend to throw sensitive Christians into a tizzy of self-reflection and pietistic passivity: work and marriage" (p. 99). What follows is wise counsel especially targeted at young men. He challenges them to "find a godly gal, treat her right, talk to her parents, pop the question, tie the knot, and start making babies" (p. 108).
One note of caution should be offered with respect to DeYoung's discussion at the end of chapter 6. He leaves the door open for "supernatural surprises"—that is, rare cases of visions, audible voices, or other forms of extraordinary guidance similar to those seen in Acts. Here DeYoung fails to distinguish between the foundation-laying apostolic era and the current age of a closed canon. We should remind ourselves of the Westminster Confession's statement that "those former ways of God's revealing his will unto his people [have] now ceased" (1.1).
With this weakness noted, Just Do Something is a book that deserves reading and recommending as a good introduction to biblical decision making. Parents and pastors will learn how better to minister to the young people around them. Young men and women will have their eyes opened to a more biblical and bold way to live to the glory of God.
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