Spirituality of the youth in the Contemporary World

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The 21st century is facing several challenges which recogonises that humans are spiritual beings and thus need them to be their fullest to be people living the life to the fullest and make a difference by radically Following Chirst.


Spirituality of the youth in the contemporary world

The twenty-first is the century of uncertainty, chaos, dynamism, globalisation, diversity, technology and hyper-competition. The 21st century context is complex, dynamic, fast paced, non-linear, multicultural, and knowledge intense. The world is experiencing global scale complex problems including global warming, post modern terror, corporate scandals, pollution wars, epidemics and pandemics, and the divide between the rich and the poor.
In such a time as this the world sees the need for creativity, insight and integrative thinking to find ways to bridge some other issues we face in today's world. One important understanding the world is seeing is that human beings are in fact quantum beings and it requires the whole person, their bodies, soul and spirit to deal with the world's day to day issues and even work and everyday routine. The understanding that humans are spiritual beings and there is a need for holistic development.
Holistic development. Holistic development involves the development of physical, social, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects. But they are not not separate entities but rather the spiritual is the central to all other aspects of a person's development.
There is an innate sense of longing in everyone to connect with the higher power. The bible is very clear that human beings are created in the image of God and God has breathed his spirit in us. We see in today's world people are trying to make sense of their life by committing to various things. Things like self development, focus on character improvement, spiritual wellness, physical fitness. There is always a search to become better. It never stops until the fullness is achieved.
Man in search of meaning
In today's Gospel reading we see a rather interesting conversation between a man and Jesus. This man is seeking to become better. He seems to be a very good man at least from his perspective. He is of the understanding that he has been right in his standing with God. He comes to Jesus and asks him what he must do to have life, in this case eternal life.
He sees that need for this spiritual life to be enriched and fulfilled.
Blasie pascal, a physicist and a philosopher pointed out that there is a God shaped vacuum in every heart which can not be satisfied by anyone except by God our creator through Jesus Christ. There is this vacuum in every person in this world who needs the creator God to fulfill. This man in the passage comes to Jesus and asks this question what he must do to have eternal life.
The ways Jesus answers this man is rather interesting because he responded to this man’s questions directly. If we read the passages preceding Matthew 19:16 the Gospel writer points out that there were several people coming to Jesus and Jesus responds to them in different ways. We see that a large crowd came to him and he healed him. The Pharisees come to him and he rebukes them for their craftiness and wickedness, the children come to him and he blesses them and this young man comes to him seeking for life and Jesus offers it to him.
This young man seeks to find meaning and purpose in life. A very important question everyone must ask one self. Dear friends, do you know what your life’s purpose and meaning is? Do you see the ever growing need for your spiritual needs to be met? Then you are not alone. The whole world is searching for it along with you. This meaning in life can be found only in God our created through Jesus Christ.
2. A call for discipleship
Our life’s development is directly dependent on our allegiance to Christ. Apostle Paul in Philippians points that out. He says in Philippians 3:8 and 9 “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things that count them as rubbish in order that I may gain Christ.” (9) “and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith -”
Discipleship involves leaving things behind and cleaving to Christ.
Many times we try to hold on to things hoping that we can become better Christians.
Christianity today is facing the fiercest challenge of all time both within and and outside.
The number of nominal Christians is more than ever before. Majority of Christians are living a nominal Christian life. People who might give intellectual consent to the Christian Teaching but are not practically living it in their everyday life. The Term Sunday Christian is not new to us. Christian who might be very regular to church or they are very active in the church activities but the gospel has not brought about any transformation in their lives. People no longer want to be identified and adherent followers of Jesus Christ in their public life. Spiritual and professional life is separated and people continue to live in that way thinking that they can carry and be a good Christ and they only find out that life turns out to be frustrating and meaningless.
Witnessing for Christ in our everyday life is also challenged by the secular world views.
People are rejecting parts of the Scripture which are objectionable and embrace only parts they like. We are living a defeated Christian life.
But, that is not what Jesus is calling us to do. Jesus promises in John 10:10 that he came that we might have life to its fullest. Life that is full and meaningful why is it that some many Christians are not experiencing this abundant life. Because we try to life the Christian life with our own efforts.
Christianity is so simple that we stumble at its simplicity and yet Christianity is so difficult that only Christ can live that life. That is why we need to live in constant surrender and dependency to Christ. That the secret of success for a disciple of Christ. Allowing Christ to live his life in and Through our life.
CS Lewis
Lewis brings the lofty subject of heaven to our front door by explaining how every action we take moves us closer either to heaven or to its opposite. Apostle Paul in Galatians 5 points out the constant struggle between the flesh and the spirit. The flesh is always opposing the Spirit and we are called to live a life led by the spirit which leads to eternal life.
As disciples of Christ we are called to a life that is constantly allowing the holy spirit to control and empower us. A life filled with the holy spirit will depend on Christ for each and every detail of life, trust God’s word and the authority of Scripture, a life that shows the dependency in God through pray, witnessing for Christ in our day to day life and building the life along with other fellow believers.
The young man in Matthew 19 thought that he did everything to have life to its fullest but Jesus points out to him that he is attached to his possessions and his attachment to his possessions as an hindrance to following Christ. Jesus calls us to leave our own accomplishments and credibility behind to follow him. Not that our wealth and accomplishment and credibility are bad in itself but our attachments to those things seems to be an hindrance to following Christ.
Thus we are called to follow Jesus living behind things dearest to us to follow Jesus.
3. Living exemplary lifestyle
A Spiritual life in this contemporary world will be an exemplary life.
In today's old testament reading we see how Joseph rises to become the most powerful man after pharaoh in Egypt. But Joseph did not get there overnight but it was his exemplary life that trusted God in every detail of his life. Joseph knew that God is with him and the bible attests to this truth that God was with Joseph throughout his life both the good and bad times. God was with him when his own people betrayed him, when he worked hard and brought wealth and prosperity to this master, God was with him when he overcame tests and temptations, when he was falsely accused. Joseph had a rather different life. A very counter cultural life. Whenever he hit the rock bottom people would have presumed the end of his time. But God had not done with him yet. God still had different plans and purposes for his life. But though all this Joseph committed to keeping his life according to God’s word. And in the end we see that God lifts him up.
On the other hand we should not see this as the story of Joseph but rather it is the story of God in the life of Joseph. God accomplished his plan and purpose through Joseph because Joseph depended on God and was available for God. Joseph Story is the Story of God the entire Bible, the story of our missional God. God reached out to man to reconcile with him.
And now his followers are called to this ministry of reconciliation. Every believer is called to be a radical follower of Christ. The young man had to make a radical decision to give his possessions to the poor and follow Christ. We young people and all Christians are called to this radical Christian living. This life of dependence on God leads to life to its fullest. A life that is full and meaningful.
The call for the spirituality of the youth in this contemporary world is a call for this radical Christian living.
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