Jesus answered, "Why do you ask me about what is good? Only God is good. But if you want to have life forever, obey the commands." The man asked, "Which commands?" Jesus answered, "'You must not murder anyone, you must not do the sin of adultery, you must not steal anything, you must not tell lies about other people, you must honor (respect) your father and mother,' and 'you must love other people the same as you love yourself.' " The young man said, "I have obeyed all these things. What else do I need?"
— Matthew 19:17-20 NLT
Wow, can you believe somebody actually had the audacity to say it! "I've obeyed all these, so what's next for me to check off my list so I can go to heaven?"
We sometimes think a checklist might be nice so that we could check off the items we need to do to ensure our entry into heaven. Thankfully God didn't give us one. The Old Testament Law was a list of commands and demands God gave, but no one could fulfill it. All fell short. Even worse, many tried to judge themselves by comparing themselves with others to see how many more things on the list they could check off than the other person. Most sad of all, in the process of checking lists and comparing righteousness, many forgot to give their hearts to God. They made something beautiful and precious into religious formality and facade. The young man in this story falls into this last category. He was not a bad person. In fact, compared to most in his day he was probably most exemplary. But his list left little room for giving himself, and what he held most dear, to the Lord. It was the one "thing" he lacked, and it was everything, because he hadn't yielded his heart.
Holy and loving Father, I offer you my heart this day. I want my heart to be wholly yours—without shadows and without rival allegiances. I know there will be days in my future when I won't live up completely to that commitment, but with your Spirit's help and guidance, I will always try to yield my heart to you. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Related Scripture Readings
- Matthew 15:7-9
- Romans 3:9-10, 20-25
- Galatians 5:4
About This Devotional
What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.
What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.