Life is full of questions. Where should I go to college? What degree should I declare? What city should I live in? Should I get married? Who should I marry? How many children should I have? On any given day, we our faced with thousands of decisions. In many ways, our lives are a reflection of all the decisions we have ever made.
Have you found it difficult to discover God’s will for your life in questions like the ones above or others like them? Of course, it is natural and even wise for Christians to seek God’s will in these areas; however, many Christians feel confused by doing so because His answers are not always discernible.
In his book, Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will, Kevin DeYoung says, “maybe we have difficulty discovering God’s wonderful plan for our lives because, if the truth be told, He doesn’t really intend to tell us what it is.” DeYoung promotes the idea that God’s goodness, providence, and sovereignty can be trusted, even when we don’t know how His plan for our lives will unfold. In other words, our faith in God should drive our decision-making, not our knowledge of His specific plan for our lives.
I have wanted to read this book for years. It is more than a decade old now but has been brought to my attention numerous times since it’s release. Most of my interest has come from my own grappling with discerning God’s will. Like you, I’m bombarded with a myriad of decisions on a daily basis. It’s frustrating when I pray about decisions and sense no direction from God. At times, the absence of clear direction has caused me to avoid making decisions altogether (which actually is a decision, but I digress).
My own wrestling with God’s will has kept the book on my radar, no doubt, but also my appreciation for Kevin DeYoung as a pastor, teacher, and author helped sustain my interest. I have read other books by DeYoung that were encouraging and helpful. I have also benefited from his teaching ministry as I occasionally download his sermon messages. It will not surprise you then to know the content in Just Do Something was like a breath of fresh air. I needed much of what I found in it’s pages.
DeYoung begins the book by discussing twenty-one to forty-five-year-olds as a generation of “tinkerers” who struggle to make decisions, find stability, and stick with plans. The struggle, according to DeYoung, has at least two roots.
First, the younger generation think they enjoy “unparalleled freedom.” Unlike past generations, a vast majority of options exist for people today. With the advances in transportation and technology, people are no longer limited to their parent’s profession in the town they grew up in. Although a vast array of choices are available to people today, too many choices can feel paralyzing to some. Furthermore, the fear of making the wrong decision haunts many of us.
Second, the search for “the will of God” has allowed us to postpone and virtually opt out of growing up. It may sound very spiritual to say, “I’m looking for God’s will,” but in many cases, it’s simply a ploy to keep us from taking risks and making hard decisions. In essence, we blame our lack of activity on God’s failure to reveal His will.
The reality is, God has revealed his will for us in the Bible. As DeYoung states in the fifth chapter of his book, “Simply put, God’s will is your growth in Christlikeness.” He’s not nearly as concerned with the non-moral decisions of your day-to-day as He is your sanctification. Of course, God cares about where you work, who you date, and what you do with your free-time, but far more than any of that, He simply wants you to seek His kingdom and be holy as He is holy.
One of the major takeaways for me from DeYoung’s book is the idea that we should die to self, live for Jesus, and glorify God by doing whatever we want. We don’t have to tie ourselves in mental knots trying to decipher God’s will for our lives. Instead of freaking out at every turn in the road, “The better way is the biblical way: Seek first the kingdom of God, and then trust that He will take care of our needs, even before we know what they are and where we’re going.”
We live in an age with plenty of information but not enough wisdom. One highlight of the book is DeYoung’s attention to wisdom, like that found in Proverbs. He uses it to guide his readers toward God’s will. At the end of the book, wisdom is deployed for seeking God’s will in work and marriage. Wisdom in these areas can be utilized as we read our Bibles, listen to sound advice, and pray often.
The book is short and can be read in a day. It is full of cultural insights and biblical truths. I highly recommend it to anyone struggling to understand God’s plan. According to DeYoung, “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.”
In short, don’t fret about missing God’s big plan for your life. Simply trust Him in everything and do something, He’ll take care of the rest.