Should I write a book review about making decisions, or should I not? The irony.
If I’m good at a few things, writing book reviews isn’t one. Sit me down over some Kung Pao Shrimp, and I’m delighted to talk book review. I can talk all day about books. Writing an informative evaluation is just not my cup of joe. However, Dave Swavely’s book, Decisions, Decisions, is worth the pain. It’s time to suck it up and get to typing.
One thing many Christians have trouble settling is the matter of spiritual guidance. We say things like “God is leading me…” or “God is telling me to…” or the like. But how does that jive with the fact that God has said all that He intended to say to us in His closed canon? One day, while reading a post on subjective impressions, Decisions, Decisions was mentioned. I hurried to get my copy online and shoved my nose into it as soon as it arrived. Let me tell you why you should do the same.
Do all to the glory of God. Yes, all.
As Christians, we should watch our lives carefully to make godly decisions in all that we do. According to Ephesians 5:15-17, it is foolish to be ignorant of the will of God. Rather, we are to make wise choices and good use of our time. Moreover, in everything we do—yes, even the things we think are trivial—we are to do in such a way that God is glorified (1 Cor. 10:31). We were created for this end (Is. 43:7). Everything you think, say, and do matters to God. If that rattles something inside you, then you will want to read this book.
God’s will found
Seeking God’s will in personal unctions, words, and signs can lead to dangerous paths. This was the initial concern that drove me to read the book. Dave speaks to it very practically and plainly. He points out some dangers in extra-biblical revelation. It not only leads to poor decisions, it also turns us away from God’s Word. Dave exhorts us to hear God speaking only through the Bible. In it, God’s will can be found. If you want to strengthen your confidence in the Good Book, then you will want to read this book.
God’s will, and God’s will
Dave clarifies the difference between God’s will and God’s will. No, I didn’t stutter. This might be better put in his words. “The first thing you need to understand is that the Bible uses the terminology ‘will of God’ to express two different concepts. One is commonly called the sovereign will of God (also known as the ‘secret’ or ‘decretive’ will). The other is called the moral will (also known as the ‘revealed’ or ‘preceptive’ will).” If this just opened the door for you, then you will want to read this book.
How not to make decisions
The book is divided into two sections. In the first, Dave tells us how not to make decisions. It speaks to the role of feelings, impressions, circumstances, counsel, desires, and prayer. All of these things play a role in our decision making, but they are not to be our decision makers. For example, how did Jesus feel about His coming death on the cross while praying the night before? What difference would it have made had He submitted to His agonizing feelings while sweating blood? If you want to see why your usual influences are not your decision makers, you will want to read this book.
How to make godly decisions
Sometimes making the right decision—the godly decision—is not easy. Feelings and circumstances can get in the way. Still, there is a way. And that is the purpose of the book. I won’t ruin it for you, but the second half of the book is directed at practical ways to help you along the way. They are things like walking in the Spirit, recognizing God’s sovereignty, praying for wisdom, seeking the Scripture, considering counsel, and leaning on desire. (Don’t get excited, I just skimmed the surface.) So if you want to know how to make godly decisions, you will want to read this book.
After you read it, you can tell me if I made a good decision by writing this quasi-review.
But first, get the book: Decision, Decisions: How (and How Not) to Make Them.