Book Review: Just Do Something

Ladies and germs, allow me to introduce you to one of the best books I’ve read this year or any year: Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung. And in case you’re wondering what that “something” is, you can start doing it by reading the rest of this review.

The subtitle of the book is How to Make a Decision Without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Impressions, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing in the Sky, Etc. Which pretty much tells you everything you need to know. DeYoung is no fan of hyper-spiritual approaches to “finding the will of God”; approaches that bear far more resemblance to hocus-pocus flimflam than to scriptural living.

Too many Christians these days have a tendency to “tinker” – with jobs, with churches, with relationships, even with doctrine – all while worrying about finding God’s perfect will for their lives. Even worse are the people who don’t do anything at all, mired in frustration and anxiety and indecision. What would happen if they took the wrong job, bought the wrong house, or married the wrong person? Wouldn’t that totally screw up any chance they had of staying in “the center” of God’s will?

So they wait. And do nothing.

But here’s the thing: God hasn’t promised to tell us what to do every step of the way. He doesn’t need to. He’s already revealed His plan for our lives: to love Him, to obey His Word, and to live for His glory. Or, in the words of Matthew 6:33, to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.

Put side 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. (p. 61)

DeYoung expands on this idea over the course of a hundred-twenty pages; and even though that might not seem like much, it’s no light or easy reading. It’s challenging, thought-provoking, and aggressive (in a good way). Tullian Tchividjian gives the best, most succinct summary of what Just Do Something is all about: “This book shows that discovering God’s will happens not as we ‘let go and let God,’ but as we trust God and get going.” Bingo.

Speaking for myself, the finest chapter is the one dealing with employment and marriage, which features some of the best writing on those two subjects that I’ve ever encountered. I’d like to quote the entire thing to you, but since I can’t, I’ll content myself with sharing a couple favorites.

On getting a job:

God calls His people to do lots of different things. Sometimes you feel a sense of calling to your job and, you know what, sometimes you don’t. You just work. I’m extremely thankful that I love what I do for a living. I feel badly for people who only tolerate their jobs, or worse. But we must all serve the Lord with heart, soul, strength, and mind wherever He’s placed us. Unfortunately, we’ve turned the idea of calling or vocation on its head. The Reformers emphasized calling in order to break down the sacred-secular divide. They said, if you are working for the glory of God, you are doing the Lord’s work, no matter whether you’re a priest or a monk or a banker. But we’ve taken this notion of calling and turned it upside down, so instead of finding purpose in every kind of work, we are madly looking for the one job that will fulfill our purpose in life. (p. 103)

On getting hitched:

Pray less that God would show you who is the right husband or wife and pray more to be the right kind of husband or wife. If everyone was praying to be the right spouse, it wouldn’t matter nearly so much who is the “right” spouse. Dump your list of the seventeen things you need in a wife and make yourself a list of seventeen things you need to be as a husband. (p. 106)

You need to read this book. Everyone does. So don’t think about reading it; don’t talk about reading it; don’t agonize over whether your TBR pile can possibly handle another addition. Order a copy, crack the cover, and get going.

Just do it.

Romance and Bad Theology

“I’ll never forget my poor beleaguered roommate talking with me after he took a risk and told a nice young lady that he liked her. They went on a long walk. He was pretty sure she would reciprocate his declaration of affection. But it turned out she wasn’t interested. She was a sweet girl, a good Christian. She didn’t mean to have bad theology. But instead of just saying ‘I’m not interested’ or ‘I don’t like you’ or ‘Quit stalking me’ or something, she went all spiritual on him. ‘I’ve been praying a lot about you,’ she demurred, ‘and the Holy Spirit told me no.’ ‘No?’ my confused roommate asked. ‘No… never,’ she replied.

Poor guy – he got rejected, not only by this sweet girl, but by the Holy Spirit. The third person of the Trinity took a break from pointing people to Jesus to tell this girl not to date my roommate. I didn’t know that was in the Spirit’s job description. But I bet at any Christian school there are scores of men and women blaming God for their breakups.”

– Kevin DeYoung, Just Do Something (p. 50)

Flotsam & Jetsam (9/4)

Prayer Request – Please pray for Jon Cardwell, a pastor, husband, father, and dear friend to many of us. He’s battling a rare and severe form of ALS, and it’s recently taken a turn for the worse. Your prayers are greatly appreciated.

Kubrick//One Point Perspective – Stylistically, this is pretty cool (though probably best reserved for older viewers). Plus, it’s accompanied by one of the greatest pieces of film music ever written: “Lux Aeterna” by Clint Mansell, a song that could make folding laundry seem like an epic task.

The Cheapening of the Gospel – Painful, but true. Pink’s shooting is as accurate as ever.

The Naked Truth–  “We’re rarely honest with ourselves. We imagine ourselves better than we are. When we make mistakes, we believe the circumstances were more difficult that they were. In other words, not only are we sinners, but we don’t even realize the depth of our sin.”

Form Fitting – Gotta love it.

Are Science and Faith Compatible? – Excellent reading. Matt writes, “If anything, I would attest that my Christian faith provides an even more exciting framework for my scientific pursuits. Rather than seeing the universe through the objectively meaningless lens of materialism, I recognize it as a meaningful and beautiful (yet fallen) work of creation.”

Why We Labor Day and Night – David Mathis offers a helpful reminder of why we do what we do.

Inconvenienced by Inconvenience – A thoughtful post from Challies on hospitality: “I hope people see that my house and my home and my life have an open door.”

“If no one has ever heard you change your mind about something, then you are either a god or you have mistaken yourself for one.” – Kevin DeYoung