Book Review: Just Do Something (Kevin DeYoung)

Most Christians ask, “What is God’s will for me?” at some point in their lives. It certainly isn’t wrong to ask that question; Christians should care about God’s will, but it is wrong when pondering it and/or looking for it causes the believer to take eons to make what really should be simple decisions. The millennial generation especially has seemed to master the art of agonizing over the litany of life’s questions, significant or small, and Kevin DeYoung’s Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach To Finding God’s Will is an excellent tool that can help you get back on the proper decision-making track.

It’s impressive how, with such an intimidating subject matter that can be very difficult to dissect, Kevin manages to present a great number of effective illustrations and straightforward trains of thought to help us understand God’s will better and think more biblically about it. Kevin suggests that Christians waste immeasurable, unrecoverable amounts of time waiting for God to show them the way, and spend sadly little time actually doing anything. I tend to agree with that. Kevin makes it clear that God has a plan for each of us, but that it isn’t God’s plan for us to know that plan in its every detail. And it shouldn’t surprise us that because Christians want to know, we’re driving ourselves nuts choosing what to have for breakfast, or where to live.

DeYoung covers a variety of topics in Just Do Something, beginning with how the realities of God and His character actually shape the carrying out of His will (ch.2). He moves on to emphasizing reasons why believers want to know God’s will (ch.3), why some reasons are wrong (ch.4) how we should handle following God’s will (ch.5), the ways Christians manage to make decision-making such an arduous process (ch.6), suggestions for practical actions to take and avoid in disseminating God’s will (ch.7), how to apply biblical wisdom (Scripture, counsel, and prayer) to decision-making (ch.8), and much more. And I knew Kevin wouldn’t fail to nail me in my struggle of being a timid, analytic second-guesser with tainted emotions. Thanks for that brother.

Don’t misunderstand though. Kevin’s goal is never to encourage doing whatever comes to mind at any time regardless of the potential consequences, and he doesn’t do that. He absolutely does advocate, as he should, for Christians to apply Scriptural truth and principles when making certain decisions. The key there is certain. When it comes to non-moral matters such as where to live or attend college, what career path to take, whether to buy or rent, whether to serve your church in this way or that way, etc, God is never going to write in the sky what He ultimately determined for you. Almighty God did, after all, give mankind a fully functional brain to make choices.

Yet reality is that Christians in general don’t make decisions well, myself included. We want our ducks all in a row. We don’t want to take risks. We simply like to know if it’s what God really wants, and what the long-term ramifications will be. The problem is if that was reality, we wouldn’t depend on God at all, let alone fully. We would lean on our own understanding, not that of the God who knows past, present, and future, and predestined what He knows is best for each of us. Kevin pounds this home in each chapter, and I appreciate the necessary reminders. And of course he never fails to supplement the book’s great content with his trademark humor, and personal anecdotes. Apparently Kevin’s grandfather has influenced him much in this area, because you’ll encounter him several times throughout JDS.

In the end, while some of Kevin’s claims are perhaps debatable, overall I think he’s spot-on with his theology about what God’s will is, and how Christians ought to be walking in it. So, if you’ve wanted to understand better what in fairness is a difficult concept, Just Do Something is a very good resource that sheds further light on the teachings of Scripture. Is it God’s will that you read it? Well, that’s for you to decide.

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