“If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” –Matthew 19:17
All people, including atheists, do what God wants much of the time, but that doesn’t mean all people obey God. Even the most rebellious children often do what their parents want, but that doesn’t mean they’re obeying their parents. Doing the right thing because it benefits us is different than doing the right thing in obedience to the Lord.
The Israelites at the time of the Judges did what God wanted, but didn’t have hearts for obedience. They proved this by their relapse into wicked conduct after each of the judges died (see Jgs 2:19). Similarly, the man in today’s Gospel reading told Jesus that he had kept the commandments (Mt 19:20). However, he did not have a heart for obedience. This explains why he refused to obey Jesus’ command to go, sell his possessions, and give to the poor (Mt 19:21-22).
Are you obeying God or just finding your self-will intersecting with God’s will on some occasions? Is your “obedience” circumstantial, that is, depending on who’s there and what’s the command? Do you have a heart for obedience, a heart for God?
PRAYER: Father, may I obey You because I love You (see Jn 15:10).
PROMISE: “You will then have treasure in heaven. Afterward, come back and follow Me.” –Mt 19:21
PRAISE: After confessing resentment toward her husband, Judy felt God’s presence in a new way and she looked for ways to greater serve her spouse’s needs.