Just do something
There can be a kind of agony in figuring out what decisions to make in life, whilst desiring to walk in the will of God. You know you have limited time on this earth and you don’t want to mess up. That means that every major decision in life can make you break out into a cold sweat as you gnaw away at the pros and cons, hoping you get it right.
Ironically, as charismatics who believe God guides in remarkable ways, this sense of anxiety can be heightened, not lessened. We strain to know the will of God for our lives, and often experience the paralysis of analysis caused by a lack of clarity over what option to take.
A little while ago I saw the book Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung and initially I wasn’t keen to buy it. The subtitle made it seem like the book was going to take a swipe at charismatics, which put me off somewhat. (Here’s the subtitle, in case you wondered: “How to make a decision without dreams, visions, fleeces, impressions, open doors, random Bible verses, casting lots, liver shivers, writing in the sky, etc.” And no, I wouldn’t want to defend all of these as in any way charismatic!)
Well, recently I bought it, read it, and discovered that this really is a brilliant little book. He begins by showing that our generation, more than any other, is a “tinkering” generation; we can’t stick at anything, but instead tinker around with all of life’s possibilities. The trouble is partly down to the vast plethora of options laid before us. We simply have too much choice.
DeYoung shows what the Bible teaches about the will of God, and gets to the conclusion that obsessively seeking God’s revealed direction for your life is not a particularly Biblical way of making decisions. Yes, God has a plan, and yes, he may (I would say will) tell you aspects of what that plan is, but our job is not to sit there fretting and trying to pry some more information out of his hands.
I can’t really do the book justice here, but the honest truth is that there were parts that deeply convicted me. He speaks about how we can be cowards, unwilling to take risks in case we get it wrong. He shows that God is more interested in our holiness than whether we get every decision “right”. He points out that anxiety and worry is sinful, and certainly not part of God’s will for us.
To be clear, I don’t think I agree with all the book says. It seems that although he doesn’t rule out charismatic gifts, he doesn’t really establish a place for them either. I have known too much of the clear leading of God in prophecy to doubt that he speaks to us to make his direction known. Although I share DeYoung’s concern over the “hyper-spiritual” types who seek to hear God on absolutely everything, I still think there’s a case to be made for Christians to have the kind of intimacy with God whereby they obey him in small things as he leads. It seems that Jesus knew this kind of walk with the Father (“I only do what I see my Father doing”), and he has given us his Spirit to enable us to walk closely with the Father too.
Despite those reservations, my overall feeling was that this book is very, very helpful. It serves as a corrective and balance for our often fretful and indecisive approach to life, encouraging believers to simply get on with things (using the right criteria for making decisions), because God will surely take care of us along the way. I recommend you read it, then pass it on to someone else.