If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. Colossians 3:1-11 [ESV]
Did you see the unusual bicycle seat? [Check it out below.] It was featured years ago in a video about paradigm shifts. A paradigm shift occurs when you think about things in a totally different way. Google defines it this way: A paradigm shift, a concept identified by the American physicist and philosopher Thomas Kuhn, is a fundamental change in the basic concepts and experimental practices of a scientific discipline.
But experimental practices in scientific disciplines are not the only places where paradigm shifts are needed. We need them in life. We need them every day. That is we need them every day if we are to take seriously these words: If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
We are surrounded by bicycle seats, desk chairs, cell phones, cars, shopping habits, perceptions of beauty and value that the world is constantly throwing in our face. Sometimes it’s through advertising where we sell the sizzle, not the steak. Other times it’s social media where we see only the best of our friends dinner cooking attempts, a fully cleaned-up house, or learn only about their children’s stellar successes.
We too easily get hooked on those values and pursuits. We learn too late – if at all – of the terrible price to be paid for our friends’ successes. We can be led to despair.
Here we are commanded to lift our eyes and keep the eternal blessings of God in view and in mind. In another place we are to focus our hearts on those things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, or worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8).
There are many troubling things in the world. They vie for our attention, concern, and even prayers. We are not to close our eyes to others’ suffering. Nor are we to shut our hearts to the pain we feel in the face of loss. But we do not grieve without hope. We do not despair of God’s goodness in the face of evil. Sometimes, however, we do need to shift our focus to the eternal blessings of God. Even as we live, and move, and have our being in this broken and fallen world we can look to Jesus and rejoice in his love and salvation.
A paradigm shift will mean we are brutally honest with the troubles we face, while being eternally hopeful for the goodness of God to sustain us and those we love.