I just finished reading a new book by Kevin DeYoung called Just Do Something: 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. Long title for a not-so-long book (122 pages). This book reminds me of another book on the topic I mostly read this past fall/winter by Bruce Waltke — Finding the Will of God: a pagan notion? Waltke’s book is a little longer (187 pages), but still not a long book. Seems to be a recurring pattern here, and I’m reminded also of Sinclair Ferguson’s short book Discovering God’s Will from back in the early 80s. If this pattern means anything, it is that finding the will of God for our lives is not a complex matter.
The last paragraph in Just Do Something sums up this idea and the book very nicely, though there is still more to the book than the summary. Never the less, here’s the final paragraph:
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.
I’ll admit that over the years I’ve done some serious searching for God’s will for my life, though in retrospect I’d consider that pursuit to be mostly a waste of time and effort. A few years ago I started getting my head on straight (in my current opinion) and began to live out what DeYoung is advocating in his book: don’t neglect your sanctification, and just do something.
Here’s another excerpt, this time from chapter five, “A Better Way?”:
Simply put, God’s will is your growth in Christlikeness. God promises to work all things together for our good that we might be conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:28-29). And the degree to which this sounds like a lame promise is the degree to which we prefer the stones and scorpions of this world to the true bread from heaven (Matthew 7:9-11). 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.
So go marry someone, provided you’re equally yoked and you actually like being with each other. Go get a job, provided its not wicked. Go live somewhere in something with somebody or nobody. But put aside the passivity and the quest for complete fulfillment and the perfectionism and the preoccupation with the future, and for God’s sake start making some decisions in your life. Don’t wait for the liver-shiver. If you are seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, you will be in God’s will, so just go out and do something.
The only chains God wants us to wear are the chains of righteousness — not the chains of hopeless subjectivism, not the shackles of risk-free living, not the fetters of horoscope decision making — just the chains befitting a bond servant of Christ Jesus. Die to self. Live for Christ. And then do what you want, and go where you want, for God’s glory.
God’s will for your life is not very complicated. Obviously, livng a Christlike life is hard work, and what following Jesus entails is not clear in every situation. But as an overarching principle, the will of God for your life is pretty straightforward: Be holy like Jesus, by the power of the Spirit, for the glory of God.
Should you read this book? You could ask God for his opinion and wait for some sort of answer, but I can tell you now what you should do: just read it.