Reading Journey 3: The Boys by Katie Hafner

Hello, fellow bookworm! Today I'm going to share with you updates on the book that I am reading, The Boys by Katie Hafner.  It's about an introverted man Ethan who fell in love with Barb, an extroverted woman. They thought that they complemented each other but it turns out their differences drove them apart.  In the beginning, Ethan left the most impression on me because of his introvertedness to which I could relate. His sad childhood made me identify with him more. When he met Barb, it's so nice seeing he's opening up to new experiences. Barb was his total opposite. She loved to explore the world.  They got married, went to an amazing escapade in Italy, but when they fostered twin boys, their relationship became wobbly. It was aggravated by the pandemic when people globally literally stayed and worked from home. This part made the story realistic as I also experienced staying at home, social distancing, and the wearing of the mask and plastic face shield.  The strain

A Book Review: Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God's Will


Kevin DeYoung, an American Reformed Evangelical theologian and author, urges “confused teenagers, burned-out parents, retirees, grandparents, and tinkering millennials” to check what God’s will really mean in his book, Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God's Will. He is the senior pastor at Christ Covenant Church in Matthews, North Carolina, and assistant professor of systematic theology at Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte. He serves as board chairman of the Gospel Coalition and blogs at DeYoung, Restless, and Reformed. He is the author of several books, including Just Do Something; Crazy Busy; and The Biggest Story. Kevin and his wife, Trisha, have nine children (Kevin DeYoung, n.d.).


DeYoung points out the three uses of the phrase “God’s will”:


  1. God’s will of decree. This is the ultimate determination of things that are set before the creation. It’s absolute and how things are. 

  2. God’s will of desire shows us how things ought to be. 

  3. God’s will of direction is what most Christians are praying for before making a decision. However, God is not a micromanager who tells us the specific things to consider and the specific steps to take. We have the responsibility to make things happen.

 

“Trusting in God’s will of decree is good. Following His will of desire is obedient. Waiting for God’s will of direction is a mess."


DeYoung lists wanting to please God as one of the reasons why we want to know God’s will. 


In addition to this, being cautious and lacking courage hides behind being dependent too much on God’s will because sometimes we are just scared to take the first steps, uncertain about what’s going to happen in the future.


Furthermore, the desire to have a fulfilling life is another thing that makes us use the phrase “God’s will”. We want things to be perfect without challenges but “life is not always fun.” Whatever happens externally doesn’t affect God’s will to us which is “to be holy like Jesus, by the power of the Spirit, for the glory of God.” 


Lastly, there are too many choices we face every day-- which brand of shampoo to use, which clothes to wear, which college course to take. The freedom to choose anything and do anything has become a form of enslavement. We don’t want to choose; we’d rather wait for God to tell us the specific route to go. 


As the book goes on, DeYoung explains the three tools that Christians use in discerning God’s will. 


When things go our way, we say that God is opening doors. When things don’t go our way, we say God is closing the doors. This tool is called “open doors”, which actually can lead to laziness. It’s not enough to just submit a resume to a company; you have to follow up, make phone calls. 


“Flee the fleece” is the second tool. It’s basically about asking God for a sign before making a move. The term comes from the story of Gideon who asked God to make the dry fleece wet if He was indeed with him in the battle. Testing God is a sign of faithlessness in Him. 


Another tool that can do more harm than good is flipping Bible verses at random to find answers. The verses are interpreted out of context and might cause confusion and untoward consequences. 


Lastly, going with our gut is one way to discern God’s will. “We make decisions based on a feeling or our intuition.” There’s nothing wrong with it though but this tool needs to be used carefully. 


After considering the reasons and tools that are used in making decisions, what is the best way? 


DeYoung said that studying the scripture, listening to others, and praying continually are the best measures to take. God’s wisdom can be found if only we seek Him. 


All in all, DeYoung calls Christians, especially the young people, to just do something about their lives, their career, and their relationship. 


He ends with this paragraph:


"So the end of the matter is this: Live for God. Obey the Scriptures. Think of others before yourself. Be holy. Love Jesus. And as you do these things, do whatever else you like, with whomever you like, wherever you like, and you’ll be walking in the will of God."


Thoughts...Thoughts...Thoughts...


The author’s passion for helping people who are still confused as to what to do with their lives can be felt from the pages of the book. He never hesitated to be frank to say that waiting for God’s will can also be a sign of cowardice or laziness. 


This reminds me of the word that we have in our language. I usually hear from people adding the word "puhon" at the end of their sharing of their dreams and plans as an acknowledgment that we don't know the future and only God knows whether those dreams and plans would come true.  DeYoung doesn't downplay this though.  It only becomes a problem when people keep on hoping, waiting for a sign, doing nothing.  While it’s true that we don’t know what exactly would happen in the future, it is our responsibility to take specific steps now to make things happen. 


This book is great for young Christians who are looking for guidance in making decisions, for mothers who have young adults unsure about the future, and for everybody who feels stuck in life. 



Discussion Questions


1. Why do you think the author chose the title?

2. What was your first reaction to the book after finishing it?

3. Has this book changed the way you see the world?

4.Which passages of the book were the most compelling?

5. What lingering questions does the book leave you with?


Further Information


Title: Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God's Will

Author: Kevin DeYoung

Genre: Christian Literature

Publisher: Moody Publishers; New edition (March 21, 2014)

Publication Date: March 21, 2014

Print length:144 pages

ASIN: B00H3V4X0W




Quotes


First Line


I grew up playing with Tinkertoys. 


Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God's Will by Kevin DeYoung (2014)




Reference:


(Kevin DeYoung. (n.d.). Crossway. Retrieved May 22, 2021, from https://www.crossway.org/authors/kevin-deyoung/).










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