This week is Crossway’s last trackback Thursday—The Heart of the Cross by the late James Montgomery Boice and Philip Graham Ryken. More info here: http://www.crossway.org/blog/2010/03/famous-last-words-the-heart-of-the-cross-on-the-last-trackback-thursday/
Q: Why do we have difficulty discovering God’s wonderful plan for our lives?
A: If the truth be told, God doesn’t really intend to tell us what it is.
Q: Does God not have a specific plan for our lives?
A: Yes, He does.
Q: Does God expect us to figure this plan out before we do anything?
Q: Are you saying that God won’t help me make decisions?
A: No, God does help us. This is called wisdom.
Q: Doesn’t God care about my future?
A: He does.
Q: Is God not directing my path?
A: Yes, He does. I believe in providence.
Q: Why are many Christians desperate to find out God’s plan for their lives?
A: 5 reasons:
- We want to please God.
- Some of us are timid.
- We want perfect fufillment.
- We have too many choices.
- We are cowards.
Q: Could you flesh these reasons out more?
A: Sure. They are in chapter 3 of the book.
Q: What is the significance of the etymology of the word “decide”?
A: “Decide” comes from the Latin word decidere, meaning “to cut off”, which explains why decisions are so hard these days. We can’t stand the thought of cutting of any of our options. If we choose A, we feel the sting of not having B and C and D.
Q: The “will of God” is one of the most confusing phrases in the Christian vocabulary. Sometimes we speak of all things happening according to God’s will. Other times we talk about being obedient to doing the will of God. And still other times we talk about finding the will of God. Can you help clear up the confusion?
A: The phrase is used in at least three different ways, specified in the 3 sentences mentioned in the question. If we examine the Bible, we see that God’s will has 2 sides to it. On the first side is God’s will of decree. Everything that happens is according to God’s will, and what God wills, will happen. The other side of the coin is God’s will of desire. This refers to what God has commanded. It tells us what he desires from His creatures. If the will of decree is how things are, the will of desire is how things ought to be. There’s a third way in which we sometimes speak of God’s will. Most of the time we are looking for God’s will of direction.
Q: What is the significance of knowing God and his attributes and His will of decree and will of desire?
A: Knowing God’s character and his promises gives us confidence to take risks for His name’s sake, as Esther did. Becase we have confidence in God’s will of decree, we can radically commit ourselves to His will of desire, without fretting over a hidden will of direction. In other words, God does not take risks, so we can.
Kevin DeYoung’s Just Do Something is a book for Christian young people. But it’s not just for them. It’s for burned-out parents, retired grandparents, and tinkering millennials. The subtitle gives a preview of the book’s message: how to make a decision without dreams, visions, fleeces, impressions, open doors, random Bible verses, casting lots, liver shivers, writing in the sky, etc.
Note: This is the first installment of a multi-part “interview” that I conducted with the book.
Question: What is the aim of the book?
Answer: The aim is not so much to tell you how to hear God’s voice in making decisions as it is to help you hear God telling you to get off the long road to nowhere and finally make a decision, get a job, and perhaps, get married.
Question: From where comes the hesitancy many of us feel in making decisions and settling down in life?
Answer: There are at least 2 sources:
- The new generations enjoy—or at least they think they enjoy—”unparalleled freedom”.
- Our search for the will of God.
Q: What has this hesitancy in making decisions and setting down in life resulted in?
A: It has resulted in our being full of passivity and empty on follow-through.
Q: How ought we to be?
A: When it comes to our future, we should take some responsibility, make a decision, and just do something.
I hope to post more on Kevin DeYoung’s Just Do Something shortly.
Is it God’s will to read this book? The book answer the question on page 9.
Read the first chapter online here.
“[I]t is the paradox of efficiency that it can be attained only by those who do not make it the express object of their desires.”
-J. Gresham Machen, What is Faith? (Banner of Truth, 1996), 209.
There is discipline in labor. The scrupulous performance of work of any kind improves both the mind and the heart. A thorough and punctual mechanic is a man of character. He possesses a mental solidity and strength that render him a noticeable man and a reliable man in his sphere. The habit of doing work uniformly well, and uniformly in time, is one of the best kinds of discipline. He who has no profession or occupation must be, and as a matter of fact is, an undisciplined man. And in case one has an occupation or profession, the excellence of his discipline is proportioned to the fidelity with which he follows it. If he half does his work, his moral character suffers. If he does his work thoroughly, when he does it at all, but does not perform it with punctuality and uniformity (a thing which is, however, not likely to happen), it is in expense of his moral power.
(p 296 of Homiletics and Pastoral Theology)