Highly Recommended. Kevin DeYoung is senior pastor of University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan, across the street from Michigan State University. DeYoung is the author of Freedom and Boundaries and coauthor of Why We’re Not Emergent and Why We Love the Church with Ted Kluck. He and his wife, Trisha, have three children.
Men, you need to read this book (and women, you will benefit from them reading this book). Obviously I can’t comment on the effect this book would have on women, but men everywhere—whether in the church or on the outside looking in—need to know what this book has to say. And guys, it’s not that hard to read. It’ll take you one, maybe two days to read the entire book with accurate comprehension. So, seriously, read it. I aim these comments pointedly at men because Kevin DeYoung hits many issues that I know men struggle with—namely work, marriage, and future security. If I could, I’d buy every man at my church a copy of this book because I know it would be a blessing to them.
Yes, this book is about the “will of God” but rather than add to a culture of mysticism or enigmatic explanations of God’s will, DeYoung writes with practical clarity in mind. Many books in the same vein add combustible fuel to the proverbial fire regarding God’s will, which only creates more smoke and confusion within the Christian mind. Maybe that’s why I appreciated the conversational tone with which DeYoung wrote as well as his straightforward explanations. Rather than speculate about how God’s will operates, he actually flips to accurate expositions of selected Scriptures to draw his conclusions. It’s amazing what clear exposition can show you.
Kevin DeYoung honestly understands the heart of the church when it comes to God’s will. He has an accurate picture of the struggles within the hearts and minds of contemporary Christians. So he addresses these issues and shows us how silly we look in light of God’s word when we try to anticipate God’s next move in our lives, or when we’re too afraid to make a choice because we don’t want to “get it wrong”. And for those who are constantly seeking supernatural signs from God for their every move in life, he very fairly points at the extraordinary miracles of the early church (in Acts) and labels them as just that—extra-ordinary. The apostles and early Christians didn’t go around searching for miracles and visions and dreams and signs, they just happened out of the ordinary. So instead of waiting around for something crazy to happen, DeYoung writes, go out and just do something.
Of course, everything is tempered with sensibility and soundness of faith. But DeYoung doesn’t just leave us hanging as many books do all too often. He gives us practical steps to seeking sound decisions, derived from Proverbs 2:1-6 and Romans 12:1-2. He points to Scripture, sound counsel, and prayer as specific ways to practically seek better decisions in life. Overall, his exposition of these two passages are simple, clear, and to the point.
What I enjoyed the most was chapter 9 in which the reader gets an old fashioned “kick in the pants,” as they say. DeYoung covers two practical issues in getting a job and getting “hitched”. Then towards the end of the chapter he goes on a little rant about the indecisiveness and passiveness of men in the twenty-something age group. Since I fall into that range it was entertaining to read, and admittedly my pride was hurt a bit. He writes (and I know the ladies will enjoy this):
Gentlemen, there are wonderful Christian girls waiting for you to act, well, like a man. Stop waiting for romantic lightning to strike. Stop waiting for the upteenth green light. Stop ‘hanging out’ every night without ever making your intentions clear. Go ask a girl on a date, or ask her ‘to court,’ or whatever you think is the appropriate language. But do something. If you want to be single, that’s great. Jesus was single. I hear it can be a pretty good gig. But if you want to get married, do something about it. Take a chance. Risk rejection. Be the relational and spiritual leader God has called you to be.
That’s just a little taste to whet the palette. Of course there’s nothing wrong with being single or finding contentment in your singleness during this specific season of your life but preach on, brother! This is what so many men need to hear, to take initiative and act when it comes to relationships. This should be the anthem for single Christian men everywhere. It’s good to know that pastors are recognizing this leadership vacuum in the church and are addressing it. And there’s more sound advice where that came from.
Oh, and the stuff about God’s will is pretty good too.