Just Do Something, written by Kevin DeYoung, a pastor in East Lansing, MI, offers a terrific perspective on a subject that impacts all of us, at least all Christians…how do we think about seeking and acting upon God’s will for our lives. The subtitle to the book is probably the best indication of the direction DeYoung intends to take his readers. That subtitle is: A Liberating Approach To Finding God’s Will – OR – How to Make A Decision Without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Impressions, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing In The Sky, etc.
This is a relatively short book, 128 pages in length, and those pages are bound in a compact paperback format of only 5 x 7″. So, when I say short, I mean short. It literally can be read in a couple of evenings. Maybe one evening if you are a fast reader.
DeYoung’s basic premise is that there are essentially two legitimate ways to think about God’s will. The first, is God’s will of decree. That is, everything that comes to pass, is according to God’s sovereign decree. What God wills, will happen, and what happens is according to God’s will. This necessarily raises the question of how evil plays into both the sovereignty and will of decree of God. While the answer to that could take the space of many blogs, the short version would be that God works all things for the good of those who love Him, including acts of evil that are perpetrated by His human creations. Best evidence of this is the ultimate solution to our sin which was brought about by evil acts, that resulted in the murder of Jesus. Christ’s death (including the evil acts of men leading up to it), was accomplished according to God’s will of decree.
The second legitimate aspect of God’s will, is His will of desire. This is best understood as His commands. These are perhaps the easiest to find, as scripture is filled with commands and imperatives. These are a clear indication of the way things should be, according to God’s will.
The way in which we get side tracked and distracted is when we seek a third aspect of God’s will, which is unfounded, according to DeYoung. That aspect might be called God’s will of direction. He goes on to describe the pitfall we get ourselves into from time to time, all with the noble and pious pursuit of “God’s will.”
“Does God have a secret will of direction that He expects us to figure out before we do anything? And the answer is no. Yes, God has a specific plan for our lives. And yes, we can be assured that He works things for our good in Christ Jesus. And yes, looking backward, we will often be able to trace God’s hand in bringing us to where we are . But while we are free to ask God for wisdom, He does not burden us with the task of divining His will of direction for our lives ahead of time.”
Dispelling the notion that we are obligated to seek God’s will of direction for every decision we make about our lives is the subject of the rest of the book. DeYoung utilizes an enjoyable mixture of what I would describe as wry humor, mixed with examples that can be understood and applied by people of all ages, but perhaps especially by those who are in their early 20’s through mid 30’s (the demographic that characterizes his church, which is located adjacent to the campus of Michigan State University). But even for someone who completed his college education 33 years ago, his points still ring true for me as well.
This is a quick and easy read, but it is nonetheless, filled with good insight. I recommend it for everyone who is serious about comprehending the subject of “God’s will” and especially my college-aged friends who have lots of big decisions that they will be making over the course of the next few years, all of which I am sure they would like to make “according to God’s will.”