Paradigm Shift With a Clutch
Some time ago, I had a Honda Accord. It was silver, it had a good sound system, and best of all, it had a standard 5 speed transmission! I loved working through the gears, bringing that silver sliver up to speed. It sat low and felt like a race car.
The shifting was so smooth and precise that I found myself going through the gears without using the clutch. Just a flick of my wrist and I was in the next gear. Oh yeah – NASCAR, here I come!
There is a joke I use in situations when a paradigm changes without warning, without an explanation. It goes like this: My paradigm shifted without a clutch.
Now this kind of shift is not a smooth one (unlike my Honda) but a jolting shift that included the starts and stops, jolts and stalls that I experienced when I first learned to drive a stick shift.
In Acts 11, the Christian Jews had an issue with Peter. His actions were challenging their paradigm that only Jews, God’s chosen people, could receive Life from Jesus.
Peter explained exactly what he encountered when the Lord spoke to him. It is interesting to note that he denied the Lord 3 times in his dream regarding eating food that had been previously unclean to the Jews. It is also interesting that this ‘dream’ was interactive. Peter responded to the presentation of the food in a personal manner…No, I have never…
This mindset of what was required of the Jews by law (see the rules God laid out to Moses) was so ingrained in the paradigm of Jews living under the Law of Moses that the Jewish Christians not only had questions for Peter regarding food and table guest choices, but the language suggested that this act of the Holy Spirit engaging with the Gentiles was difficult to swallow, so to speak.
With Peter’s explanation, however, the clutch was engaged and they understood that the Gentiles also had a part in God’s plan of Salvation.
To their benefit, they broke out of the paradigm of the Jews being the only Chosen People of God. This shift goes against a millennium of teaching. I’m thinking that they made the shift relatively smoothly.
How about you? Have you had your paradigms challenged? Did you ignore the challenge or test it? Did you accept the change if proven correct or did you resist it because of a fear of change? The entire New Testament is a challenge to the idea that the Justice and Righteousness God requires of us is due to our balancing our own righteousness against what we can sacrifice to God to make amends.
Peace offerings, praise offerings, offerings for atonement, etc., have all been made on our behalf by Christ. Once for all. Our lives are no longer to be lived on the balance beam of law, but in the river of Grace!
Would that shift in how you live your life require a clutch? The clutch is the Grace of Christ.