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My house had rules and chores growing up. Simple things like:

  • Making my bed in the morning
  • Mowing the yard in the afternoon
  • Brushing my teeth at night

When I was a kid these rules felt arbitrary and constricting.

Over time I've realized that these same things continued over the course of decades have helped me into a good life at home:

  • A clean bed to enter into at night
  • A clean yard to host people in
  • A clean mouth that hasn't given me any major dental issues

These were laws in my house growing up, but they've led to a good life.

Jesus says something similar in Matthew 19:16-17.


In Matthew 19:16-17, Jesus is departing away from a time of praying for kids and families. As he's leaving, he gets stopped by a rich man (probably could tell by the way he was dressed) and the beginning of the exchange goes something like this:

16 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”

17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”

The young man starts with a noble question that we are all asking, "What the key to the good life?"

Jesus doesn't respond with a new teaching that no one had ever heard, he doesn't dismiss tradition, he doesn't do away with Israel's religious history. Instead, he affirms it.

"Keep the ancient commandments," Jesus says. That's the key to the good life.


Jesus says similar things elsewhere like, "I did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it" (Matthew 5:17), and the invitation of his disciples is to do the same.

This shouldn't surprise us.

Think about the following and ask if they would lead to a good life:

  • Worshipping God? Yes.
  • Resting? Yes.
  • Not stealing (or being stolen from)? Yes.
  • Honoring your parents? Yes.
  • Being faithful to your spouse (and your spouse being faithful to you)? Yes.

In other words, faithfulness to the commandments are a no-brainer if you're looking for the good life.

Unfortunately, we acquire self-inflicted wounds by not resting, not honoring our parents, not being faithful, etc., and then we wonder why life is so hard.

This Lent season, as you continue to fast and pray, lean into the law, lean into the commandments, and you'll find that you're leaning into the good life.