The subtitle for this book is, “Or how to make a decision without dreams, visions, fleeces, impressions, open doors, random bible verses, casting lots, liver shivers, writing in the sky, etc.” This is really a brilliant book that is quite short but packs a mean punch. I read a book last year by DeYoung called “Why We’re Not Emergent (by two guys who should be)” and enjoyed it quite a bit. DeYoung has a great sense of humor throughout this book that is a bit sarcastic which I like. There’s one point where he talks about how his roommate was denied by a nice Christian girl who he liked because she said the Holy Spirit told her not to date him; he reasoned that the Holy Spirit took time out of pointing people to Jesus to tell her not to date this guy! This kind of witty charade is what made this book really entertaining as well as immensely practical.
People my age and even younger who are committed Evangelicals have struggled and will continue to struggle with the will of God. Decisions we make now, such as what job you should get or who you should marry, will affect us for the rest of our lives. Therefore, we are always on the search to make the most perfect decision that is aligned with the will of God. What DeYoung demythologized is the idea of God’s will being a single most excellent path that is unique for us today. He reasons that young Evangelicals today are bombarded with choices unlike any other generation in American history: where to live, where to work, who to marry etc. In times past, these choices were basically simple. You worked on the farm for your father and took it over after he died; you lived in the city you grew up; you married whoever was around in that city. But today we face a flood of choices that makes decision making hard. There are millions of people who you could potentially marry on the internet and in the city(ies) you’ve lived. There are thousands of potential jobs that you could take. The list goes on and on. So for the millennials who are Christians, the question is what is the “right” choice, or what is most in line with what God wants for our lives?
Often times we are trying to find the will of God like it is this nebulous force that God has secretly hid from us. DeYoung says this is not so. He explains that we sometimes think of God’s will has a path that is exactly what God wants for us. Along this path, we take the right job and marry the right person. If you choose this path (that you have to discover), your life will be full and joyful. If you don’t you’ll go against what God’s supreme plan for you is and you’ll be unfulfilled. This is a wrong way of seeing God’s will. DeYoung says that when it comes to non moral decisions like taking a new job or getting married to a nice Christian woman, sometimes the way to make the decision is to just do it. He provides some structure for these decisions like getting Godly counsel from elders, prayer, and Bible reading. These maturing disciplines in the Christian life will help one to be connected to the Holy Spirit, therefore enabling you to make the right decision. So often young Christians will wait around to hear an audible voice from God or put a fleece on the ground so God can reveal his ultimate plan on what you should do and you end up in a vicious cycle of not knowing what the right answer is. So his advice is: just do something. Quit waiting around. Expunge the thought that God has one perfect path for you and if you don’t take it, you’ll be worse off. Get counsel. Pray. Read your Bible. But ultimately: do something! Make a decision.
One of the most scathing passages in this book is directed toward young men. He says that the average age in the 1960’s for young people to be married was anywhere from 20-24. Today, it is around 24-30. There are lots of reasons for this, but he encourages young men who have a desire to marry to pursue women (what a novel thought). Here is an excerpt from the book about this:
“… There is nothing wrong with being single. It can be a gift from the Lord and a gift to the church. But when there is an overabundance of Christian singles who want to be married, this is a problem. And it’s a problem I put squarely at the feet of young men whose immaturity, passivity, and indecision are pushing their hormones to the limits of self-control, delaying the growing-up process, and forcing countless of young women to spend lots of time and money pursuing a career (which is not necessarily wrong) when they would rather be getting married and having children. Men, if you want to be married, find a godly gal, treat her right, talk to her parents, pop the question, tie the knot, and start making babies.”
Great wisdom for this generation of Evangelicals. I highly recommend all folks who struggle with the will of God and decision making to pick this book up and be challenged by it!