Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will by Kevin DeYoung
What should I do with my life? Where should I go to college? Do I buy this car or wait for a better deal? What is God’s will? Young adults are not alone in their quest to find God’s will for their lives, and Kevin DeYoung addresses this issue well in Just Do Something. The subtitle is telling: How to Make a Decision Without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Impressions, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing in the Sky, etc. In this short yet powerful book, DeYoung looks to Scripture to unearth the meaning of this concept we label as “God’s Will,” how to find it, and what that means for our lives in practical, day-to-day, life.
In a refreshing way, DeYoung isn’t afraid to state things as they are and call cowards cowards. “I’m advocating floundering less, making a difference for God sooner, and—above all—not spiritualizing year after year, our inability to make choices in the elusive question to discover God’s will. I’m arguing that our eagerness to know God’s will is probably less indicative of a heart desperately waiting to obey God and more about our heads spinning with all the choices to be made.” (DeYoung 2009) He continues, “The final reason we want to know the will of God is because we are cowardly.” Unfortunately, I believe he is right. The “Christian sub-culture” is overflowing with men and women who don’t do anything because they still haven’t discovered God’s will for their lives. Once again, DeYoung calls these men and women on the carpet and condemns their religious seeking for God’s will as fear and passivity: “We don’t take risks for God because we are obsessed with safety, security, and most of all, with the future.” “Passivity is a plague among Christians. It’s not just that we don’t do anything; it’s that we feel spiritual for not doing anything. We imagine that our inactivity is patience and sensitivity to God’s leading. At times it may be; but it’s also quite possible we are just lazy. When we hyper-spiritualize our decisions, we can veer off into impulsive and foolish decisions. But more likely as Christians we fall into endless patterns of vacillation, indecision, and regret. No doubt, selfish ambition is a danger for Christians, but so is complacency, listless wandering and passivity that pawns itself off as spirituality.” (DeYoung 2009) In contrast, he offers a different way of decision-making: “We should stop looking for God to reveal the future to us and remove all risk from our lives. We should start looking to God—His character and His promises—and thereby have confidence to take risks for His name’s sake.” (DeYoung 2009) A far cry from today’s popular Christianity, this approach sounds more like the examples of Joshua, David, Daniel and Elijah—men who weren’t afraid to lay their lives on the line and take risks. Turning the focus from ourselves and our fears to God and His character lays the foundation for world-changing, risk-taking Christian living.
Just Do Something is a challenge to leave behind the worry and anxiety that “reflect our heart’s distrust in the goodness and sovereignty of God” and instead to focus on seeking God first, then to go out and take a risk for God. “He calls us to run hard after Him, His commands, and His glory. The decision to be in God’s will is not the choice between Memphis or Fargo or engineering or art; it’s the daily decision we face to seek God’s kingdom or ours, submit to His lordship or not, live according to His rules or our own. The question God cares about most is not ‘Where should I live?’ but ‘Do I love the Lord with all my heart, soul, strength, and mind, and do I love my neighbor as myself?’ (Luke 10:27) It’s that second question that gets to the heart of God’s will for your life.” (DeYoung 2009) The will of God is not a secret, hard-to-find idea that we must discover before we can do anything right, but in a lot of areas God has left the choices up to us. When we seek Him first, then our choices will reflect our heart towards God, and will therefore be in God’s will. “Count on it: God’s will is always your sanctification. He has set you and me apart that we would grow to be more like Christ.” “God never assures us of health, success, or ease. But He promises us something even better: He promises to make us loving, pure, and humble like Christ. In short, God’s will is that you and I get happy and holy in Jesus.” (DeYoung 2009)
Misunderstanding God’s will has led many Christians to unnecessary stress and confusion, when in reality it is pretty simple. “Die to self. Live for Christ. And then do what you want, and go where you want, for God’s glory.” (DeYoung 2009) This doesn’t mean that we all have to be pastors or in full-service “ministry,” but rather that we must live for Christ whatever we’re doing and wherever we’re at. “[W]e must all serve the Lord with heart, soul, strength, and mind wherever He’s placed us. Unfortunately, we’ve turned the idea of calling or vocation on its head. The Reformers emphasized calling in order to break down the sacred-secular divide. They said, if you are working for the glory of God, you are doing the Lord’s work, no matter whether you’re a priest or a monk or a banker. But we’ve taken this notion of calling and turned it upside down, so instead of finding purpose in every kind of work, we are madly looking for the one job that will fulfill our purpose in life.” (DeYoung 2009)
“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.” (DeYoung 2009)
DeYoung, Kevin. Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2009.