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Review of ‘Just do Something- A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will
Created by Jon Taylor - Tuesday 15 Nov 2016
Jon Taylor
Review of ‘Just do Something- A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will by Kevin DeYoung’
 
This book is refreshingly concise and uncomplicated; biblically sound, clear and pragmatic. It is an excellent resource for Christians seeking God’s will for their lives today. Joshua Harris wrote the foreword and stated ‘I am a Pastor. And the highest praise I can give this book is that this is my new go-to book on decision making and “finding God’s will (p8).”
 
It is diagnostic of contemporary challenges and failings and prescriptive from timeless scriptural truth and principles. In addition, DeYoung, helpfully gleans practical insight from his grandfathers to cast light on some of the generational dilemmas rooted in procrastination and avoidance of responsibility evident in our society. Whilst the cover is uninspiring, the content and conclusions are liberating, timely and meaningful. They are not elusive, emergent-based, pseudo-hyper-spiritualised, superficial nor lightweight. Though a short work, the scope is fairly broad and in some areas I was helpfully rebuked by reading this.
 
The long road to nowhere
 
DeYoung kicks off his opening chapter entitled, ‘The long road to nowhere’, by making a distinction between ‘tinkering’ and ‘building’. His concern is that the tinkering and lack of commitment in the current generation is endemic concerning doctrines, churches, relationships, education, living arrangements and spiritual practices irrespective of ‘how irreconcilable or divergent’ they are.
 
Whilst DeYoung demonstrates he is cognizant of past and present cultural, economic and educational factors affecting the above paragraph’s issues, he connects the problem of ‘adultolescence’ with the means of determining the spiritual issue of God’s will. He is insistent that passivity is entrenched behind a variety of excuses expressed as ‘looking for God’s will’ and commends the need to ‘take some responsibility, make a decision and just do something (p13)’.
 
God’s will

 
DeYoung makes the case that a lot of ink has been spilt trying to discover God’s wonderful plan for one’s life, though He doesn’t in fact intend to tell us what it is. He qualifies that by examining what God’s will actually means theologically, rather than deliberating and anticipating the will of God in Christianese confusion. Rather than being preoccupied with knowing every step in the way in advance, DeYoung implores to seek first the kingdom of God and trust that He will take care of our needs.
 
It is noted that whilst it is right that we seek to please God (Heb. 11:6), ‘our misdirected piety makes following God more mysterious than it was meant to be (p26)’. DeYoung observes that some are chasing ‘perfect fulfilment’ and are effectively and unrealistically looking for heaven on earth now and have lost the attitude of a pilgrim. Specifically in the United States and to a lesser, though increasing extent in the United Kingdom; the vast array of choices in many facets of life particularly relating to consumerism, can lead to unnecessary self-doubt and indecision.
 
The Tendency to Focus on Non-Moral decisions
 
I found this the most insightful point in this book. It is often commonplace to spend a disproportionate amount of time considering non-ethical decisions. DeYoung helpfully defines non-ethical decisions as ‘I’m talking about two or more options, none of which are forbidden in Scripture (p43)’.
 
DeYoung doesn’t leave us guessing what the important issues are either…
 
‘The most important issues for God are moral purity, theological fidelity, compassion, joy, our witness, faithfulness, hospitality, love, worship and faith. These are His big concerns. The problem is we tend to focus our attention on everything else. We obsess over the things God has not mentioned and may never mention; while, by contrast, we spend little time on all the things God has already revealed to us in the Bible (p42-43).’
 
Subjectivism and Sovereignty
 
DeYoung steers the reader away from the cruel paralysis of conventional hopeless subjectivism and points us towards trusting in God because He is sovereign. He also counsels against the increasingly ubiquitous ‘God told me so’ culture which subtly removes personal accountability and summarises, ‘”It seems like the Lord is leading” is a better way of communicating our dependence on God than “God told me so (p47).”’
 
Returning to the theme of seeking God’s kingdom, DeYoung redirects questions such as ‘where we should live’ by helping us to firstly consider more fundamental matters such as whether we are actually loving God with all our hearts. God’s will is our sanctification and that we rejoice always, pray without ceasing and give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thess. 4:3; 5:16-18). God speaks to us primarily by His Son though His Spirit in the Scriptures.
 
DeYoung helps to navigate, make sense of and avoid the types of Christianese deciding mechanisms that simply aren’t biblical. He outlines the problems, pitfalls and practises of randomly selecting bible verses and expecting instant direct application, over-indulging hunches, impressions or subjective feelings and the ‘fleece approach to life’.
 
Wisdom, wealth and wedlock
 
A God-centred approach is endorsed that elevates wisdom above wealth and walking in the way of wisdom by eating, swallowing and digesting the word of God. After praying, studying and seeking good advice, De Young encourages the necessity of making a decision without over-spiritualising.
 
Concerning work, we would also be wise to determine whether the role is righteous. Naturally we consider most of the sensible human logistics regarding salary, schools, commuting and the surrounding environment. Surely we should also factor in the proximity to a good church and that should be accompanied by prayer and wise counsel before making a decision.
 
Though the Bible doesn’t tell us who to marry, the guiding principles provide clarity. Christians should marry Christians (Mal. 2:11; 1 Cor. 7:39). It would be prudent to seek wise counsel and obviously pray, asking God for pure motives. DeYoung implores to stop focussing on the lengthy list of desirable qualities in a spouse and commence working on your qualities in your life and then make a decision. DeYoung is under no illusion that regardless of who you marry, it will involve hard work and reminds men to be the relational and spiritual leader that God has called them to be.
 
The End of the Matter
 
DeYoung closes by discussing his lessons from his godly grandfathers. What comes across clearly is that they were faithful, industrious and decisive and they didn’t spend aeons of time, pontificating micro-decisions or for that matter non-moral decisions. Like them we should be grateful for the past, active in the present and hopeful in the future.
 
His concluding paragraph is unsurprisingly similar to John MacArthur’s final point in ‘Found God’s Will’, which is also worth a read and makes an excellent gift. DeYoung concludes…
 
‘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 (p120)’.
 
 
 
 
 
   
Tuesday 15 Nov 2016