We need to acknowledge that we are easily deceived, especially by ourselves. For example, we are easily deceived by our own “outward behaviour.” As we were growing up, for different reasons and motivations, we learned to do some “window dressing” to gain people’s recognition and praise, while making ourselves feel better and feeling like we have fulfilled our duties. As Christians, we may also be deceived by our outward displays of piety, feeling like we have done well, completed our obligations, and feel self-satisfied and justified, but forgetting that Jesus cares about the state of our hearts, not just our superficial actions and appearances. Just as Jesus despised the hypocritical Pharisees, who were self-righteous and gradually became conceited, deceived by their own superficial behaviour, and judged others by their own perceived righteous behaviour.
Each of us has a piece of Pharisee in us, which we cannot deny and warrants our reflection!
In addition, we sometimes overestimate our own abilities and loyalty to God. For example, St. Peter did not think he would deny Jesus. Even Judas did not think it was a big deal when he betrayed Jesus, until he later realized that he had committed a heinous crime out of his greed, causing the death of his master, but it was already too late, and there is no way back!
All of the above examples warn us that if we neglect our “blindness” and “hardness of heart”, we would be tricked by the various “blind spots” in our lives without even realizing it. It can potentially cause us deep trouble and great regret.
If we truly want to be Christians who can live up to our name, not wanting to be far away from God and His ways, and truly seek to desire what God desires, we must get rid of the attitude of “self-righteousness”, not just believing in our own ideas, and not just caring about our own interests.
Before facing His own suffering and death, Jesus did not only care about His own safety and interests. Instead, He did His best to focus on the needs of others and the community. As the Creator, Saviour, and Teacher, He even personally washed the feet of His disciples, setting an example of humble service to others. Jesus showed us the true example of a Christian, just as described by St. Paul the Apostle in his letter to the Philippians 2:6-8: “Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death — even death on a cross.”
If we want to become true Christians, we only have one way, which is to imitate Jesus, following His teachings and His way of life; not just partially, but to be 100% like Him.
We often feel that we are entitled to receive many things in life, that God, our parents, family, and people around us should provide for us, as if they owed it to us. But Jesus wants to break this mindset! We came into the world naked, and everything we have now, including material and non-material things, and all our relationships, are given to us freely by our Heavenly Father, and not something we are entitled to.
If we can adopt and live out this mentality, it becomes easier for us to let go of the desires in our lives that are not important or appropriate. We can then be transformed from a self-centred and egoistic mentality that always serves one’s own needs, to one that considers the needs of others and the community which is modeled after the spirit of Christ’s love and humility through serving others.
In this way, we can achieve the goal that St. Paul the Apostle urged the local Christians to strive for in Philippians 2:3-4: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.”
Only when we learn to live out Jesus’ spirit of “do unto others as we would have them do unto us” can we truly realize that we are not living for ourselves, that we should not be just taking care of our own needs or inflating our own desires. When we are truly able to let go of our own “selves”, we will have the space to appreciate the spirit that Jesus Christ taught us to “wash each other’s feet” and to live out the new commandment that Jesus gave us after the Last Supper: “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. ” (John 13:34)
Lord Jesus, please guide me as I reflect on this new commandment and new attitude that You have enlightened me today, and teach me to put them into practice from this day forward.
Thank you for participating in this 40-day Lenten spiritual journey, I Thirst. We hope you have been inspired and have benefitted from it! For the spiritual benefit of all of you, Fountain of Love and Life devotes a lot of time and effort in producing various spiritual projects every year, and all our ministries are sustained by the generous donations of our supporters. We hope you will support us with prayers and donations. Please make an online donation using the button at the top of the website Lent.FLL.cc. Thank you very much for your support. God bless!
The following is the “Farmer of Hearts: I Thirst” team, including FLL staff and volunteers.
Please kindly pray for them. May God protect them and sustain their physical, mental and spiritual well-being.
Project Manager: Michael Lam
Writer: Paul Yeung
Editors: Bonny Chan, Rosa Tse
English Translators: Bonny Chan, Sammy Ip, Zenia Lau
Cantonese Narrator: Margaret Woo
English Narrators: Bonny Chan, Sammy Ip
Mandarin Narrators: Anthony X. and team
Audio Editors: Arnold Chan, Fonte Ip, Sander Lee, Margaret Woo
YouTube Editors: Fonte Ip, Damaso Wong
Graphics: Francis Lai, Rosa Tse
Website: Angela Wong, Patricia Young
Podcast: Angela Wong
Social Media: Clara Chang, Yollie Leung, Carmen Tsang, Rosa Tse, Damaso Wong