Book Review: Just Do Something

. August 28, 2011
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In this little book, Kevin DeYoung addresses a big problem: the tendency to remain paralyzed by indecision because we can't figure out what God wants us to do.

We can live without total peace about the future. Even though we don't know what's going to happen, God is in control. He's already revealed what we ought to do: live by His Word, which is given to us in the Scriptures.

Quoting both cessationist and Pentecostal scholars, he shows that the two groups have a lot in common. Both acknowledge that God can work in miraculous ways, but those miracles are rare times when God wants to communicate with us in a special way. We make the vast majority of our decisions through God-given wisdom, not supernatural surprises: and when those surprises do occur, they never take precedence over Scripture.

My favorite part of the book is the last two chapters. Major decisions can be a lot less agonizing than most of us think. DeYoung provides a four-step process: Search the Scriptures for wisdom, get wise counsel, pray, and then make a decision. He then tells the story of his grandfather, who like others of his generation lived through the Depression and didn't have unrealistic expectations out of life. Here are a few quotes from the final chapter of Just Do Something:

[Grandpa Van] got a full-time job building church furniture during the Great Depression for the princely wage of forty cents an hour. "We were rich," Grandpa told me.

Within a few years, Grandpa owned and operated several service stations in town. He was only twenty or twenty-one at the time - the age most "kids" today are still playing video games, sneaking off to parties, and trying to "find" themselves. In talking with my grandpa about his life, I asked whether he wrestled with God's will, or remembered waiting for a sense of direction before taking so much initiative in life as a young man. "No," he said. "I felt like God was waiting for me to get involved." I wonder how many of us are just the opposite - waiting for God to tell us what to do rather than assuming He's waiting for us to go out and be obedient....

Not long ago I asked my grandpa, "Is there anything you think younger generations of Christians have lost that your generation understood?"

"Oh, yes," he said quietly.

"Like what, Grandpa?"

He thought for a moment. When he opened his mouth, he didn't answer the question directly, but I got his point, and it was a good one. "I started with nothing," he stated. "What right did I have to hope for all these things that fell into place? Hard work, sure, but I knew it was from God."
I've seen a lot of Christians, including grown men past middle age, agonize over decisions and never come to peace about what they should do. This indecision has hurt not only them, but those under their leadership waiting for something to happen. Kevin DeYoung has taken some bold and needed steps to bring Scripture to bear on these situations. The book is worth reading if only so we can recognize these situations better and do something about them.

I'll leave you with an excerpt from the back cover.
Hyper-spiritual approaches to finding God's will don't work. It's time to try something new: give up.

Pastor and author Kevin DeYoung counsels Christians to settle down, make choices, and do the hard work of seeing those choices through.

Too often, he writes, God's people tinker around with churches, jobs, and relationships, worrying that they haven't found God's perfect will for their lives. Or - even worse - they do absolutely nothing, stuck in a frustrated state of paralyzed indecision, waiting... waiting... waiting for clear, direct, unmistakable direction.

But God doesn't need to tell us what to do at each fork in the road. He's already revealed His plan for our lives: to love Him with our whole hearts, to obey His Word, and after that, to do what we like.

No need for hocus-pocus. No reason to be directionally-challenged. Just do something.