A New Paradigm

“Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” -Matthew 28:18-20 {NLT}

In the study of social sciences, the first concept taught to students is theories. You need to learn various theories and viewpoints in order to form your own paradigm. Your paradigm, your framework, will influence everything in your practice. How you interact and collaborate with others, how you view the world around you, the interventions you put in place will all be influenced by your specific paradigm. Paradigms are essential in this profession, for the paradigm you choose directs everything else. It is true even more so when it comes to choosing a paradigm for life.

When Jesus came on the scene, fully human and fully God, He brought with Him a new way to be human and nothing-absolutely and unequivocally nothing-would ever be the same again. Jesus was then and is now a living paradigm shift and He offers us His new way to be human and a new way of life. When we lose religion and truly become followers, change is inevitable. It’s hard to follow Jesus and stay the same; His presence in our lives shines a light on what needs to be dropped in order to look more like Him. Jesus has pioneered all of humanity and therefore shifted the way of the world and the framework of his followers.

His new way isn’t meant to be kept quietly to ourselves or hoard away like we’ll somehow run out of Him. He is the ultimate pioneer, and He’s reached out His hand to us in partnership so that we may also pioneer where we are. Our God who is bigger and wilder  than we can think or imagine wants to pioneer with us and through us. Us, divine nobodies. I am not a pastor, I’ve never been to seminary, and most days I have to actively remind myself to not be a jerk, but I am acutely aware of how my whole world rests and relies on Him alone. This flow of life and change connects us to Him; as He changes in us, we are empowered to create change through us. “When I have a better handle on life,” or “when I’m qualified enough” are not the thoughts of change agents. When Jesus commissioned us to make disciples, to baptize, and to teach it was not meant as a suggestion, but an invitation to become real followers of His and to pioneer with Him. And now that we’ve answered His wild invitation it is our privilege and our commission to share His relentless love and new way of being with others. There are people in our lives only we can speak into and people who are in our space only we can reach. Jesus told his disciples to go to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth. What a significant and weighty journey we’ve been called to pioneer with Him. Our Jerusalem starts right where we are and creates a broadening ripple effect reaching the ends of our earth today with the steady promise of Jesus staying with us until the end of the earth.

Because when Jesus says, “GO” we are not alone. No, and never. Instead, our actions meet the empowering spirit of God, who shows us what to do, what to say, and how to live this great way of life. With every step, and every word we speak out and as we go! are we carrying new life with us? We are the greatest revelation of how Jesus is real, of how He is the greatest pioneer of all and how this new paradigm He embodies is the only one worth living.