The Primacy of God
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights…” James 1:17
By now hopefully, you’ve deduced how important it is to discover your real identity.
Finding your authentic self is key to:
- Accomplishing everything you’re hoping and dreaming
- A big shortcut to lowering your stress
- A major cornerstone for the entire Path of the Postmodern Cleric
Let’s call ‘real identity’ Secret #2, even though I’m misusing the term “secret,” because no one is hiding it from you. I’ve seldom talked to anyone who wouldn’t admit that identity questions need answers early in your life and often need to be redefined repeatedly throughout your life.
So why didn’t I start there? I purposefully wrote Primacy of God first because it’s even more foundational and even more overlooked as a secret to an abundant Christian life. Without understanding the secret of God’s primacy you’ll quickly hit a glass ceiling in your pilgrimage toward the Promised Land. For lack of understanding God’s primacy the children of Israel circled the wilderness for 40 years before getting another attempt at something they wanted—and God wanted for them.
Let that sink in. What can possibly hold back a blessing that God wants to give you and you want to accept? How heartbreaking to march in circles when everything is lined up and ready for the big win.
I’m going to get right into Primacy in this chapter, but I have to first tell you how I stumbled into this secret.
I came across secret #1 because I was frustrated by conversations I had with local institutional Christians. For every authentic person who loved the Lord with all their heart, I found two who had a religion instead of a relationship with God. I started having tough conversations with God and, of course, He started talking about something else entirely. I notice in my conversations with God that he doesn’t stick to my agenda. Like when the disciples asked Jesus the theological question of the day regarding a blind man, “whose sin resulted in his blindness from birth, his own future sin or past sins of his parents?” Jesus responded, “you’re asking the wrong question. All that matters is how can the Kingdom be glorified?” Then he restores the man’s sight. (John 9).
Quick side note here—the disciples aren’t shamed by Jesus. It’s not wrong to take whatever I’m thinking or feeling to God. In fact, it’s exactly the right thing to do. It’s being childlike. I think we’d heal much faster if our response to “negative” emotion was to drag it in front of God. Pretend for a moment that God isn’t shocked by your anger, hate, disappointment, lust, impatience, etc. He actually understands sin, and He’s kind of over it. He gave his son to fix it, and I think we’re often throwing all this in his face by trying to clean up our own mess before we bring it to him. Nothing says thanks for Jesus, but no thanks, for trying to handle your own problem.
So I’m having this conversation with God, telling him how frustrating people are, and he says, “They don’t know me.”
That was an eye-opener. Did God really just boil sin down to simply not knowing him? I didn’t quite know what to do with that, so I let in compost in my brain for a while.
A day or two later another ingredient came from God when I read a book about process management titled, “The Novel,” by Eli Goldratt. It’s a good read. The author treats processes according to the laws of fluid dynamics and draws an interesting set of principles out of it, creating the Constraint Theory of Management.
Reading that book, which is in no way a Christian inspirational book, put an idea in the compost pile of my brain next to God’s comment.
Later a mentor of mine spoke about the concept in James 1:17. All good things come from God and nothing good comes from anywhere else. This was the third item in the compost pile that really brought the heat.
Part of my identity, my superpower, is smashing things together unrelated things and seeing a new thing created in the mess and destruction.
So God began drawing on threads in the back of my brain. I realized that, if I wanted more good things in my life, and God was the source of good, there had to be one or more things constraining my ability to receive those things.
Over the course of the next five years I journeyed with God pushing for more about this topic, and it opened up so many amazing things that I could write for the rest of my life just on the topics I’ve already explored.
Imagine for a moment that you want to pick tomatoes from your garden, but they never seem to grow. They get plenty of sunshine and fertile soil. You decide they aren’t getting enough water. So you drag a hose over and turn it on. A trickle of water comes out. You double check that the water is on, and it is. Then you start looking for kinks in the hose. You find about ten. Even when you straighten them out, nothing seems to be coming out the hose. The more time you spend with it the more frustrated you get. You’re throwing good time after bad, and even if you get the water on you still need the tomatoes to grow. You feel powerless. You feel discouraged.
Then it hits you. You had this problem last year and decided the hose was beyond repair. You bought a new hose. In fact when you check you find water flowing out the new hose into the street and down the storm drain.
You didn’t throw away the old hose. Why on earth would you keep the old hose? I’ll tell you. Because part of you still identifies with that hose. It’s the only hose you’ve ever known.
Alright, I’m not talking about hoses anymore. Clearly, I’m talking about a human life. We get a new life in Christ, this shouldn’t be news to anyone. But when we’re stuck in the wilderness it’s about letting go of our slave identity. Leadership in Egypt (the world) is about doing the work and receiving just payment. As in just the minimum, they can give you to sustain you. It’s an abusive have/have-not relationship.
Leadership in the Kingdom is servants leading and leaders serving. It’s counter-intuitive to the mind stuck in slave mode. The wilderness is about literally dying to a mindset of slavery. God isn’t being a jerk when he doesn’t let you into the Promised Land as an imperfect human. It’s not about your perfection at all. It’s not about anything you do or fail to do. That’s slave mindset right there. You actually can’t enter the Promised Land with the mind of a slave. It’s a new Kingdom. You must submit yourself to the King or you can’t be received into the His Kingdom.
I’m not saying you won’t go to Heaven for lack of figuring this out. Not at all, remember the Promised Land isn’t Heaven. It’s abundant life. It’s being the real you by living as the restored person not the old hose, er, I mean the old dead sinner who can’t be a conduit for the glory of God.
The Promised Land isn’t Heaven. It’s abundant life.
That’s a rough statement and I’d get yelled at if I left it there. I know God uses broken sinners to do amazing things. Absolutely! In fact, that’s a big part of entering your Promised Land, launching imperfect and unprepared.
It’s not about your being prepared. It’s not about your status as a sinner. It’s not about how long you’ve been walking with God, who your mentors are, or even of which truth God has convicted you, or how well you can convince others that your truth is the “real truth.” It’s not about any form of religious sophistication or achievement. You can’t earn the Promised Land. It’s a gift.
Whew! Seriously Andy, what are you on about? Stop telling me what it’s not and tell me Secret #1 already!
The very first constraint preventing abundance in your life is using the wrong hose. It’s realizing that your new life is an intimate partnership between you and God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. You enter the Promised Land when you can carry the presence of God with you into the face of what you know you can’t do in your own strength.
Sweet! There it is. Either you feel elated because you’re recognizing something you already knew but seeing it in a new light, OR you’re a little underwhelmed that I made such a big deal about something so obvious. Maybe you knew this but hadn’t thought about it in a while, is that really such a big deal? Why all the fuss?
Because when you read Chapter 2, I’ll tell you the number one reason people aren’t able to consistently remember Secret #1.
P.S. also you’ll discover core reason why Primacy comes before Identity.
This page under construction.
Expected update 4/13/2018