Book Review: Just Do Something

I mentioned this last week, but Kevin DeYoung is fast becoming one of my favorite new authors. He co-authored "Why We're Not Emergent, by Two Guys Who Should Be" and has written a new book called "Just Do Something, a Liberating Approach to Finding God's Will."

I first saw this book written-up by one of my uncle's compadres on Pyromaniacs. It got a glowing review over there, and let's just say those guys don't have a reputation for handing out glowing reviews of anything very often. So, I picked the book up.

If you're familiar with the old standard "Decision Making and the Will of God" by Gary Friesen, you're familiar with the general principles Kevin DeYoung points to in "Just Do Something." Friesen's book is good, but reads a bit more like a textbook. DeYoung's book is not nearly as thorough, but is just as helpful. He writes in a clear, easy style that is brief and to the point, but presents enough information and support to help the reader understand his argument.

In short, "Just Do Something" says this: The Bible talks about "God's Will" in two primary ways: the "decreed will" of God and the "desired will" of God. Those terms are not unique to DeYoung, but are the terms he uses.

The "decreed will" of God is God's ultimate plan for the Universe that cannot change and is not revealed. We cannot get out of the decreed will of God - God will have His way. The "desired will" of God is God's moral plan for His creation that is revealed through Scripture. If we make decisions that have moral implications, we can look directly to Scripture to guide our decision making. I don't have to pray about whether or not to cheat on my wife; God has already made the answer pretty clear.

But most of our decisions are not moral decisions. From the biggest decisions we make (should I marry this person, take this job, move to this city) to the smallest decisions we make (should I wear the orange shirt or the black shirt), most decisions we make every day have no moral implications. Because we want to please God, we often go seeking His directional will in those decisions as well. We wait for a voice to tell us what to do, look for open doors, and lay out proverbial fleeces for God (If she calls tonight I'll know you want me to date her).

DeYoung points out, I think rightly, that God is not a fortune teller or consultant. He has given us a brain for a reason and promises to give us wisdom when we ask (James 1:5). In non-moral decisions we should pray diligently for wisdom, seek wise counsel, seek to honor God in our decision, and make the decision we want to make. God doesn't want us to know the future in every situation; He wants us to move forward with confidence while trusting Him. When we delight ourselves in the Lord, He works through our desires to honor Himself (Psalm 37:4).

"Just Do Something" is a great book. I bought several copies for decision-makers in our church, and think I may start giving it as a graduation present as well.


lisa said...

this is definitely on my to-read-next list.

i just started "Reckless Faith" by Beth Guckenberger and can't put it down. Stayed up WAY too late last night because of it.