John MacArthur’s Found: God’s Will has for many years been my go-to book to offer Christians a brief answer to the question of how they might understand God’s will in their lives. When Christians ask about God’s will, they are generally looking for advice on how to make a decision so as not to displease their Lord. MacArthur, in only a few pages (or just over an hour of an audio book), offers as clear an answer as anyone I’ve seen.
In his book and philosophy of discerning God’s will, John MacArthur is first and foremost biblical. MacArthur makes it clear that the way for a Christian to understand God’s will for his or her life is to be found in Scripture. MacArthur does not suggest any sort of strange, mystical, or superstitious use of Scripture, but a simple, clear, honest look at the text of God’s word. We need more of this in Christendom.
Besides being biblical, MacArthur is wonderfully freeing in his approach. Taking God’s call in Psalm 37:4 to heart, the author concludes in his work that a Christian delighted in God and submitted to his commands will be free to do what he or she desires. This is by no means a license for sin, as the prerequisite for doing what you want is that you have first done what God has proclaimed is his will in clear texts of Scripture. MacArthur calls us to be saved, to be Spirit-filled, to be sanctified, to willingly suffer persecution for the sake of the gospel, and to be submitted to the authorities that God has placed over us. When those conditions are met, a believer will be free in his love for God to do whatever he desires without fearing somehow thwarting God’s will.
A final positive that I will mention is that this book is wonderfully brief, only 64 pamphlet-sized pages in print. MacArthur does not force his readers to wade through hundreds of pages to find the answer they are seeking to the question of how to make a decision about whom to marry or which college to attend.
The brevity of MacArthur’s work, though a positive, is also a negative. There are many challenges that MacArthur simply does not address, as his work is more a pamphlet than a scholarly defense of non-mystical decision-making. Thus, MacArthur does not address questions of spiritual gifts, “leadings” in prayer, or other methods people might declare useful for discerning God’s will.
We might also add that MacArthur’s list of five categories to satisfy is not exhaustive. For example, MacArthur does not address the need for a believer not only to desire something biblical, but to also be convinced in his or her conscience that his or her actions are right (Rom 14:21). I do not doubt that MacArthur would agree with this added point, but his brief work did not allow for the addition of other points (nor does having a clear conscience begin with the letter S, thus potentially messing up the entire system [and for the humor-impaired, this parenthetical is sarcastic]).
While many God’s will books have been written, I still find MacArthur’s tiny work to be my first choice for helping believers begin to grasp that the word of God is sufficient for life’s difficult decisions. There are other books that I like very much on this topic as well, including Kevin DeYoung’s Just Do Something, but for a short, simple, and sound answer to the question, MacArthur’s Found: God’s Will is an excellent resource. I have no hesitation in recommending this little book to any believer.
As part of their reviewers program, I was given a free audio copy of the audio version of this book from Christian Audio. The reading and audio quality of this work meets the high standards one has come to expect from this organization. To learn more, visit www.christianaudio.com.