I am reading lies we believe about God by Wm. Paul Young. Young, best known for the best-seller The Shack. Each of the chapters are titled with the lies: “God loves us, but doesn’t like us”, “God is good. I am not”, “God is more he than she,” “God is a magician,” “God is a prude,” and “God blesses my politics”. I got the book because these are exactly the beliefs about God that I have struggled with much of my life. Now, I have pretty much put them be behind me. You might say, I bought the book because I was seeing another author that already agrees with me and it has proven to be quite satisfying…until this morning.
Chapter 8 (and lie # 8): “God wants to be a priority.” Young quotes Jesus, when asked by teachers and lawyers of his time, “What is the greatest commandment?” We all know his response: “Love God with your whole heart.” Sounds like making God your priority to me. Young asks, “What does it mean to put God first?” Then he lists some possibilities spiritual practices such as prayer, church attendance, tithing, or doing volunteer work. But the next question is, how much is enough to qualify for “priority?” Maybe this is about the order of things. Pray in the morning first, then watch the news, not the other way around. If God is a priority are there things in my life I have to walk away from in favor of whatever God wants and what is it that God wants?
Here is what Young suggests:
“Instead of a list of priorities, Jesus introduced us to something completely different: a moving, dynamic, living relationship in which God is not first, but central. This is not a flow chart, but rather, a mobile where everything is moving and changing as our choices and participation are woven inside the activity of the Holy Spirit. Lists are about control and performance; God is about adventure and trust. If God is at the center of our lives, then so is love and relationship, since God is profoundly both.”
“God doesn’t want to be first on your list,” Young concludes, “but rather central to everything.”