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Thinking About Thinking

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Book Review
Think, The Life of the Mind and the Love of God
John Piper, Crossway Books

“…loving God with all our mind means that our thinking is wholly engaged to do all it can to awaken and express the heartfelt fullness of treasuring God above all things.” -John Piper

Loving God must engage both the heart and mind. In Think, The Life of the Mind and the Love of God, John Piper encourages believers to think deeply about God as a means to glorify and treasure Him above all things. Using one of America’s greatest thinkers, Jonathan Edwards, as an example; John Piper asserts that a well thought out understanding of truth will stimulate the heart to love God. In this book, Piper wisely attests that thinking to the glory of God is not mere intellectualism or amassing great knowledge for its own sake, but rather “that all thinking–all learning, all education, all schooling…exists for the love of God and the love of man” (p 21).

After reading this book, I have been thinking about the life of the mind as it pertains to knowing God. Although finite man can never say he has learned all there is to know about God, what he does know he can know truly. As we study and think about Scripture, our understanding of God increases, igniting the desire to obey and glorify Him. Of course, knowing God entails more than just memorizing a list of facts about Him. That kind of knowledge only puffs up. Knowing God happens in the context of relationship and that relationship is only made possible because of the Gospel.

Oh, how magnificently layered is the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Can a man ever get to the bottom of that? What better object deserving our attention than the Holy Spirit aided apprehension of Christ and His Gospel! Consider the Gospel treasure waiting to be discovered by a deliberate contemplation of it. Think of the Gospel as a banquet. Positioned at the head of the table is our beloved King bidding us to feast on one delectable morsel after another.

Piper’s book has been a great encouragement to me to grow in my knowledge of God. Let us join heart and mind for His fame and for His Glory!

“…You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”  Matt 22:37

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel

In Search of God’s Will

One of the best things about Kevin DeYoung’s book on finding God’s Will in your life is the title:

How to make a decision without dreams, visions, fleeces, impressions, open doors, random Bible verses, casting lots, liver shivers, writing in the sky, etc.

That’s not to say the actual content of the book is sub par, it definitely is not. In Just Do Something, Kevin DeYoung explains the difference between God’s will of decree (referring to what God has ordained), God’s will of desire (referring to what God has commanded), and God’s will of direction (referring to God’s specific plan for our lives). When we ask questions like, “What job should I take?”, “Where should I live?”, “Which college should I attend?”, or “Should I travel abroad or stay home on my vacation?”, we are asking God to show us the specific who, what, when or where for our lives. We are asking God to reveal to us His “will of direction.” De Young asserts that many Christians worry so much about missing God’s will that they either “tinker around” and never settle down or become so paralyzed in their uncertainty that they end up doing nothing.

Mr. DeYoung is quick to affirm that the Bible has already revealed God’s will to us. We are to love God, love others, and walk in obedience to our Lord. He also maintains that we should pray, ask for wisdom, and seek godly counsel. However, unless there is some moral reason why we should or should not do a particular thing, sometimes, as the title of the book suggests, it’s best to… just do something.

This little book (122 pages) is filled with Scripture and Biblical examples. The only slight criticism I can muster is that sometimes DeYoung’s advice can seem simplistic considering the complexities of life. But, Mr. DeYoung insists, and I agree, that believers can avoid the paralysis and confusion that often accompany seeking out God’s will by simply making a decision “confident that He’s already determined how to fit our choices into His sovereign will” (51).

Kevin DeYoung does a masterful job weaving together God’s Sovereignty over our decisions with our human responsibility to make them. I highly recommend this book. In fact, I plan to buy several copies and give them out as gifts to young people (i.e. high school or college students) who are just beginning to learn about making life decisions. DeYoung ends his book with the following words:

“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” (122).

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel

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