“It is not possible to be a disciple of Jesus in the modern world”
I disagree with this statement, although I recognise that it is not always easy to be a disciple I believe it is possible for those who have faith.
We are first called to discipleship at Baptism where the father of the child lights a candle from the Pascal candle as a sign of his responsibility to enable his son/daughter to grow in full faith.
I believe that faith makes everything possible, if we have faith in God and his teaching we can achieve our hopes and dreams. If we have faith then living, as a true disciple is part of our way of life, we as Christians in today’s world should try to live our lives as Jesus lived his. Without faith what meaning would life itself have for us, what would be the use in perusing life if it had no meaning to us. If we believe then we can reach goals and discipleship can bring joy and purpose to our lives we can achieve goals and targets we set for ourselves.
“Nothing is impossible to he who believes”
Faith in God is not always easy to maintain; if we pick up a newspaper what headings do we usually see? Usually something related to drugs, alcohol, kidnapping, and murder. What example is this setting to children? While there parents are teaching them about how caring we should be, and how we should love our neighbour as ourselves, these children look at the newspapers or even the news and see people who have lost arms or legs as someone has shot them. What kind of example is this of loving your neighbour?
What affect is this going to have on these children in the long term? They will grow up with the opinion that this is acceptable and everybody does it why should they be different to the rest?
To be a true disciple we must have immense faith in God, if we have faith nothing is impossible. But there are many difficulties which disciples of Jesus have to face when trying to carry out the work of God, one of the most difficult to deal with is peer pressure. Many people, particularly the young people, feel unable to resist the pressures put upon them by their peers and therefore behave in a way which goes against the teaching of the gospel.
There are many pressures maybe to smoke, drink, vandalise others property, tell lies, use foul language, and have a sexual relationship before marriage. If enough pressure is put on these people it is very difficult to say no! And therefore they are going against the teaching of Jesus not because they want to it is because they are not strong enough to resist temptation, and they are afraid others will treat them differently.
Other pressures come from the media we usually get a picture from the media of very anti-Christian values and standards. Take magazines for example they tell stories of unmarried people having a sexual relationship or young people smoking and drinking, and this is all classed as “Normal” and acceptable in our world. They do not present the Christian way of life as being worthwhile and “Cool” or up to date.
We also get a lot of anti-Christian standards from the television, films, and videos. These can have a very powerful influence on the lives of many people; most soap operas and films present a non-Christian way of life. How often do you see a Christian family in a soap opera, and if there is Christian families do you ever notice that they always seem to be laughed at by the rest of the families as they are seen to be out of date and definetly not trendy.
Television I believe influences many people, who is going to get up early on a Sunday morning to watch the Christian services carried out in different chapels, while they could be watching Eastenders or a popular music show! There are many ways television influences us they give us pictures of what is normal in our society such as sex before marriage, abortions are acceptable, divorce is a fact of life, the only purpose in life is to search for pleasure, and violence is acceptable and part of everyday life.
Media can make Christians feel confused and unsure of their own beliefs
The way of life presented by the media is often made to seem more attractive, more enjoyable, easier, and more glamorous. However we as Christians should always remember that Jesus never promised that being a disciple would be easy, in fact we must deny ourselves take up our cross and follow him. We should make up our minds whether we want to be a disciple; many people are unable or incapable to make such decisions in life because of addictions to alcohol, drugs, gambling, and solvent abuse. Becoming addicted to any of these can make people lose all sense of reality of right and wrong, of what being a Christian really means. If a person is not in total control of their life then being a Christian is almost an impossible task.
The family is an extremely important unit and source of Christian discipleship in our society, it is within the family that children first learn about the love of God, right and wrong and acceptable and unacceptable modes of behaviour. Parents are the first teachers of their children and the church relies on these parents to pass on the faith to their children by what they say and through their actions. There are many broken families in today’s society and many children do not receive the Christian teaching and example, which they need, such as love and understanding and therefore grow up not using the example in their life. So to be a good disciple is extremely difficult but not impossible.
In today’s world there are many distractions and other Gods, which can lure us away from love of the one true God. Things such as money, possessions, wealth, search for pleasure, and success, laziness, indifference, friends, and Greed. These things all tempt us in many different ways, it is as if they are trying to make us forget our first priority which is God. The easier route in life is often to give into these temptations, to become distracted by worldly and materialistic values and to become neglectful to our Christian duties.
If we consider all the pressures people today face we see that it is not always an easy task to follow Jesus through thick and thin, but it is not an impossible one. When Jesus chose his first disciples he knew that it would not be easy for them, nor is it easy for us in the twentieth century. The world as we know it is becoming less and less accommodating to the Christian way of life and it is not going to get any easier, this is why we should never give up and our faith should see us through even the worse times in life. We should not become what society wants to become and is encouraging us to become we should not be lured away from God so we can fit in and act like people want us to. This is the challenge of Christian discipleship.