Books about practical life issues are tricky. Some strike a really good balance of addressing a real issue in a reader’s life while avoiding being overly prescriptive and/or “guilt-trippy.” Others alternate between being too vague to be helpful and too rigid to be useful.
Regardless of this difficulty, it’s so necessary to see how our faith intersects with everyday life. And one of the places I’ve seen people struggle over and over again is the age-old question of knowing God’s will.
How do we know God’s will for our lives? Are we living outside of it? Is that even possible?
To help guide you through this difficult topic, I’d encourage you to read Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung.
Why this book?
If you’re like me, you’ve probably been caught in the indecision loop that fear of doing something “outside” the will of God causes. It’s pretty natural for those who want to please God to not want to, well, “un-please” Him.
What’s so helpful about this book is DeYoung’s encouragement for us to remember that God has already fully revealed His will for our lives in Scripture: “For this is the will of God, your sanctification” (1 Thess. 4:3). The sum total of what we need to know about God’s will for our lives is that we are to grow in the image and likeness of Christ. To live holy, set-apart lives, being obedient to the Scriptures and thankful to God in all circumstances.
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)…. 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 it’s 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.
This is the kind of practical help that frees us from being stuck in endless cycles of worry and indecision and allows us to better “seek first the kingdom of God.” It’s so uncomplicated … and maybe even a little liberating. I hope it’s an encouragement to you today.
How do you think the approach to understanding God’s will described above might help you live out your faith more freely and fully?
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It’s easy to think that if we can’t do something big for God, we can’t do anything at all. This is simply untrue — it is a lie of Satan. We cannot allow ourselves to succumb to this mentality. If we do, we will surely be useless for God. We must pray with eyes open, looking for opportunities to be useful for His glory & for God to bless others through us.
Aaron, this post came at the perfect timing for me. Although “go out and do something” according to God’s will may mean “wait and see” sometimes, there are also times when He just nudges us out of the door without much clear guidance (like Gandalf who put Bilbo through an epic journey without any solid plans).
In that kind of time, when the view before us is blurry, we have to make sure that we hold onto His hands tight, and trust that when we are going in the wrong direction, He will shut that door and steer us towards the right one.
This looks like an interesting book. I like the practical, get-it-done, God gave you the WORLD now go and do something in it, approach. I think it has its merits.
I think, in my own life, sometimes I’ve been a little too harum-scarum, run around and try everything. Sometimes I think I should wait MORE for signs and confirmation. But I don’t like the idea of navel-gazing until you’re practically useless. Or worse, waiting for someone else to tell you what to do. I’m a do-er, not a ponderer. And I guess God made me that way so I’m at peace with that.
Great book recommendations these days Mr. Armstrong! It’s nice to be presented with something original in the world of literature. I always like to have new ideas to consider.
One of my favourite Bible verses is “in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thess 5:18 as it very simply states God’s will for us – “in everything give thanks”. Such a simple, yet profound command that is something we can all choose to do and continue to grow in every day of our lives.
When pondering what the will of God is for me I often come back to this verse and simply start by being thankful.
Thanks for recommending this book. I definitely want to check it out and compare it against Scripture. The idea that we can just do something is not what I was taught growing up but I feel it’s always a good idea to study and learn and test beliefs against Scripture to ensure that we have a correct understanding of and relationship with God.