Dr. Earl Creps, in a book titled, Off -Road Disciplines, uses the phrase, “paradigm crash.” He explains the phrase this way. “A paradigm expresses my basic orientation toward how life works; it is my ‘operating system’ of unspoken premises that runs in the background unattended. … A crash happens when pain makes the frailty of those assumptions impossible to ignore… sometimes violent, sometimes gradual – paradigm crashes create an opportunity for God to take us off road, awakening me to mission by crucifying aspects of my culture… and spirituality that need to die.”
Twenty years ago, I experienced a paradigm crash. Many of my carefully laid plans for life fell apart as a result of cracks in the foundation that were hidden away beneath layers of denial, religiosity, and apparent success. At the time what I did not realize was that though Jesus was my Savior, He was not my Lord and King. I believed He was the King and Creator, sang of His majesty and love, but lived as the lord of my own life. I was morally upright, serving people in a church ministry, preaching messages that others found helpful in their spiritual development. But, I was still ‘in charge’ of my life and was unaware that I was trying to make God serve me, rather than me serving Him. From time to time, I sensed all was not well and felt deeply conflicted, but did not know why. When those feelings arose, I brushed them back by working harder, serving more, and singing more loudly in the darkness! Over a period of about two years, God allowed me to experience bitterness of disappointment that I had never tasted in my life to that point. I experienced a ‘paradigm crash.’ My assumptions about Him, myself, and the way that life should work proved faulty and He loved me enough to let me know my sin! The descent into depression and disillusionment that followed was a dark period of my life but what followed, I can now say, was a grace gift of God. In the death of self and dreams, a new faith emerged, a rock solid foundation for life.
Is Jesus the King of your life or is He King in name only?
Who is really determining how you live – Self or Jesus Christ?
That is a tough question, perhaps one you cannot honestly answer today. Maybe you’re like I was two decades ago, doing right things for wrong reasons, and deeply in denial about your real spiritual need.
The people who greeted the Lord as He came to Jerusalem that final week before His crucifixion, thought they had found their king. “They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the King of Israel!” (John 12:12-13, NIV) Several days later, the yells in Pilate’s courtyard were much different. “Crucify Him, crucify Him!” What happened? Their expectations were disappointed. Their paradigm taught them to expect an earthly monarch who would throw off the Roman rulers and restore the glory of David’s kingdom. That paradigm was wrong, and there was a crash. Their plans were not the plans of God. Jesus declared, “My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.” (John 18:36, NLT) His throne was the Cross where He conquered sin, Hell, and death but most could not grasp what He was doing. But, even to those who had turned on Him, Jesus offered grace, praying from the Cross – “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.”
Peter, too, experienced a ‘paradigm crash,’ as he stood in the yard outside of the house where Jesus was being interrogated. When he was challenged about being one of those who loved the Lord, he vehemently denied his association, swept away by fear and, in his confusion, his weakness was exposed for all to see! From the rubble of his broken life, Peter looked up and found new faith in the King of Glory. He was filled with the Spirit of God and became, as Jesus had promised, the leader of the Church.
Is life not working as you thought it would? Is confusion lurking in the darkness at the edges of your mind? Does it seem that you’re working harder but realizing less?
Ask God to show you the truth about your self, your assumptions about the world, even your expectations of Him. Perhaps you believed on Him a long time ago as Savior, but only now are coming to grips with making Him Lord and King of your life. Trust Him! He will not write you off, throw you away, or forget you. There is a new grace to be discovered at the end of the life you have planned, when He is allowed to bring into existence the eternal life He has planned.
Crown Him King today. Surrender it all to Him.
If there ever were dreams
That were lofty and noble,
They were my dreams at the start.
And the hopes for life’s best,
Were the hopes that I harbored,
Down deep in my heart.
But my dreams turned to ashes,
My castles all crumbled,
My fortune turned to loss.
So I wrapped it all in the rags of my life,
And laid it at the cross.
Something beautiful, something good;
All my confusion He understood.
All I had to offer Him
Was brokenness and strife,
But He made something beautiful of my life.
Something Beautiful –
Gaither, William J. / Gaither, Gloria
© 1971 William J. Gaither, Inc. ARR UBP of Gaither Copyright Management CCLI License No. 810055