Book Review: Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung
Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung is a fresh view of understanding God’s will. DeYoung is an exceptional thinker in many ways and seeks to look at the diamond of God’s will from another facet. Rather than trying to identify the precise action a person should take in order to be in God’s will, DeYoung approaches determining the will of God by allowing anything to be included that is not forbidden. “Give up,” he says, “and ‘Just do something.’”
He begins by identifying the sovereignty of God’s will. In DeYoung’s theological view “God always gets His way.” (p. 19) It is true the will of God will always be accomplished, yet as DeYoung writes, “It is the ultimate determination over all things, and it cannot be overturned.” (p. 21) Does that mean when God desires all to be saved and some are not, that God doesn’t get His way? It would seem that God wills that many are condemned because “God knows all things and sovereignly superintends all things.” (p. 21) That jargon removes human freewill. It would seem that DeYoung discusses human choice all through his book, but not when it comes to the category of God’s sovereign will. To clarify, it seems that Young holds to the Direct will of God, but not the Permissive will of God (God allows sin to happen, even though God does not desire it).
DeYoung rightly states, “Yes, God has a specific plan for our lives.” (p. 24) It is true that in the Divine Decree, every condition, decision and futurition is certain. Yet, man is not a robot. By the grace of God, he makes choices that prove when he is humbly submitted to God, he glorifies God and God works through him, but when he acts independent from God, he continues in sin, even as when he was an unbeliever. I affirm DeYoung when he states, “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.” (p. 26)
He answers the question why we want to know the will of God. His first reason is we want to please God – very positive. (p. 27) His fifth reason is we are cowards and don’t want to suffer harm or do something wrong that would put us in danger – very true. (p. 38) His point is that we often get too concerned with the precise, best will of God and are hindered from making a difference in God’s kingdom.
A couple times he states, “We risk, because God does not risk.” (p. 48) Everything is known by God, so we can venture forth and trust how God will lead. In making those decisions, he states, “But it would have been wrong for me to use God’s will as a way to remove my personal responsibility in the decision.” (p. 49). In other words, I can’t blame God. God wants us to use our brains (p. 53) and make decisions that honor His character and are within His scope of holiness.
The main thrust of DeYoung’s thesis is seek first God’s righteousness, don’t worry about all the details, but do make decisions out of a love for Jesus Christ. (p. 57) In other words, do you want to mirror God’s character and please Him? Then “Just Do Something” and trust God in His guidance. Don’t worry about the perfect job or perfect place to live. If they are not sin, then make the decision and God will lead if it is not the right choice.
At times DeYoung will make significant statements like “Apart from the Spirit working through Scripture, God does not promise to use any other means to guide us, nor should we expect Him.” (p. 68) Then he will incorporate a good section on getting counsel from others with wisdom (pp. 94-95). He distinguishes the difference between moral and non-moral issues, which is appropriate. Although it may be that a person’s personal study and understanding of Scripture has not reached the depth of a friend who may give better counsel regarding decisions. That friend may have a better understanding of truth.
This review should be closed with the way DeYoung closed his thoughts,
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. (p. 122)
There is a great deal of qualification that must be understood from his material, but he opens your options of God’s will to “Just Do Something.”