Prata Potpourri: Music Edition!

Don't seek signs and audible direction, "Just Do Something": A Book Review

By Elizabeth Prata

I mentioned in this week's Potpourri essay that I'd disappointed myself that I had not kept up with the reading schedule I'd set for myself, a la Challies' Reading Challenge. I have not read as many books so far, this third month of the year, as I'd wanted. I also read Challies' follow-up article encouraging us to read. He wrote that if we hadn't read a lot by now we probably wouldn't. Gulp. I agree with that. Oy, I better get moving on my reading schedule.

I did finish Kevin DeYoung's Just Do Something. If you've ever wondered about a big decision you need to make, whether to move across the country, take that job, marry this man, go back to school, to adopt...these kind of decisions often fall into the gray area of the Bible. The principles and commands are clear enough. But applying them to our personal circumstances, often we are tempted to seek  additional confirmation from God. It can be with good intent, we want to make sure we are on the right path, obeying well, doing something that God wants us to do. But it's unnecessary and it's wrong.

What makes it harder for us ladies oftentimes is that we see and read of 'celebrity' Christian women who seem to receive specific pointers from God audibly as to these big life decisions. Joanna Gaines of the HGTV fame "Fixer Upper" and owner of Magnolia Silos shopping mall says she walked in a garden and asked God about her career (not motherhood, but the ambitious TV career she wanted) and He seemingly answered her in specific words and assured her that her TV fame would come. Beth Moore seems to receive specific answers to life's questions, even as clear as which bus stop to go to in order to give to the poor, which she later announced with trumpets before men.

So, is it normal to wait for a direct word from God as to whether this is the right man to marry? As to which college to attend? As to whether to accept that promotion? To go on the mission field? DeYoung's book resolves all that with a clear splash of cold water AKA the scriptures. He shows us that if we pray and know His word, that it is safe, normal, and desirable to make those decisions without seeking direct revelations, signs, or omens. Here's the book blurb:
Hyper-spiritual approaches to finding God's will don't work. It's time to try something new: Give up. Pastor and bestselling author Kevin DeYoung counsels Christians to settle down, make choices, and do the hard work of seeing those choices through. Too often, he writes, God's people tinker around with churches, jobs, and relationships, worrying that they haven't found God's perfect will for their lives. Or-even worse-they do absolutely nothing, stuck in a frustrated state of paralyzed indecision, waiting... waiting... waiting for clear, direct, unmistakable direction. 

Kevin DeYoung's Just Do Something is a very good book. I don't write in my books but I add arrow sticky notes. I've removed most of them now that I'm done but I left these in the book so I can go back later and re-read meaningful-to-me passages. When my book looks like a porcupine, I know it has resonated with me.

DeYoung's points are made with few words but with a punch. It is easy to read. My favorite doctrine is Providence and DeYoung's highlighting of the Lord's providential care of us, rather that the fad of Christian reliance on whispers, signs, or omens, is beautifully brought forth.

Here is Dan Phillips' review of Just Do Something, it is an excellent and thorough review.

I hope you enjoy this good (and short!) book!


Comments

  1. Hi Elizabeth, This reminded of a book by John MacArthur about the same subject. Quick summary from memory....If you are Confessing, praying, studying, growing, obeying (basically living to please God) whatever path you choose will right. Trust in the Lord with with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3 :5,6 Larry

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  2. Haven't read the book, but that's how we make our decisions. As the Word says, man makes his plans and God directs his steps. It's actually pretty simple.

    It’s not just celeb Christian women who teach otherwise, I’ve heard it from plenty of men as well. Honestly, the issue DeYoung addresses is a pretty pervasive problem in the church.

    -Carolyn

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  3. I have to tell you, your dealing with this subject in the last few months has really rocked my world. I don't know where I got the idea from originally, but I've always thought God had a specific will in all the things you mentioned (and many more to boot) and I have always struggled with trying to discern what His will was. Most often (maybe even always) I have not received the leading I was asking for, which has caused a great deal of questioning of my faith over the years, but it also has an impact on the consequences of those decisions, i.e., I am tempted to hold it against God when a decision doesn't work out well but I asked for guidance. This issue has caused such a tremendous amount of confusion in my Christian life, and now I'm even more confused, trying to rethink 34 years of doing this. I sure wish I had known what the truth was at the beginning of my faith walk...I believe I would have saved myself a great deal of trouble.

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    1. Hi Grace to You, Thank you for sharing your heart. It's sooo hard to get out of established thought patterns, so I'm proud of you for rethinking it. The disappointment when things don't turn out as one expected is an important point you made, the tendency to blame God exists and thus, from start to finish the whole process is a grief. We all feel like you do at some points, that we wished we had known sooner or done it different, but God is eternal and omniscient and is patient. He loves you!

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  4. Hello again Elizabeth,

    Testimonies like Grace to You's are exactly why I said that this thinking is a *pervasive problem* in the church. It is present everywhere - sadly even sometimes from the pulpit (implied or even outright preached). Many good Christians, truly wanting to honor the Lord, end up so terribly confused and stressed. The enemy of our souls knows that, for a believer, there is nothing more fearful than the thought of being "out of the will of God", and he leverages this against us to his advantage with a slew of false teachings.

    Early in my salvation, I also was confused in this matter, as was my husband, though to a lesser degree. However, due to some horrible hypocrisy we saw at our church at that time, we wised up very quickly to a number of things, this erroneous teaching being one.

    Take heart, Grace to You, those 34 years are not all lost... Don't beat yourself up, just fix your eyes on Him... :)

    -Carolyn

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    1. Thank you for the encouragement, ladies! I hope I live long enough to figure this stuff out. :) Then again, if I don't, that's okay too, especially since I feel like I'd have to live at least as long as Enoch to get that done. :D I'm so thankful that one day we won't be seeing as through a glass darkly, but we will all know as we are known!

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  5. Hello Elizabeth, I've heard the claim that sign gifts will be reinstated temporarily as we get closer to Christ's second coming. Have you heard that before? Do you think that idea has any biblical basis?

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    1. Yes I believe that has biblical basis and that's exactly what I believe will happen. The decree given by Artaxerxes as the kick-start to the prophetic clock has 434 years plus 49 years totaling 483. It is all about Israel/Jerusalem. However they did not know there would be a massive pause to grow the Gentile Church (grafted in). None of them foresaw that. However it was 483 years to the DAY that Jesus entered Jerusalem for the last time, so they should have known! But, there is 7 years 'missing' to the 490 years' decree. (Daniel 9). That is the period of the 7-year Tribulation. When the Church Age ends, the last Gentile converted to fulfill the quota Jesus has in mind (Romans 11:25), it ends the Age of Grace, and the church age closes with the rapture. The prophetic clock starts again, resuming from 'pause' to finish the decree and fulfill the promises Jesus had promised the Jews (in the immediate future, wrath, then Millennial Kingdom).

      The OT ended with His death & Resurrection and the new covenant began. When the church age ends, the last 7 years of the OLD TESTAMENT resumes in order to complete the decree (Dan 9:27). and along with it signs and wonders, just as they had in the time of most spiritual turbulence of Moses and the Prophets of Elijah especially. I am not sure if it will be designated people doing the signs (maybe the 144,000, but the Bible doesn't say) or if it will solely be signs performed by Jesus from heaven and the demons doing false signs and the 2 witnesses. It is reasonable to think that the 144,000 may be able to speak in tongues (languages) since the world will have to be evangelized pretty quickly.

      The Two Witnesses of Rev 11 do signs, they are killed and resurrected before a watching world (another sign), the devil will do signs designed to deceive and are apparently so realistic those signs would deceive even the elect if that is possible, angels fly in midair speaking the gospel to the whole world, many signs from heaven, demons do signs (Revelation 16:14) .

      Notwithstanding WHO does the signs and prophesying, it will be a time of spiritual turbulence and a re-entering of the Old Testament times, so, ...signs and tongues and prophesying is going to happen (just not sure WHO will be doing it). Hope this makes sense, it's a lot to condense into one comment

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