I began the Elements blog series by referencing the day my dad called me into the drivers seat of a baby-blue Chevy Silverado pickup truck, at the age of 10, and told me “you’re driving.” Yes, I know we broke the law that day, but somewhere along those old country roads, with my feet barely reaching the pedals, my dad empowered me with an element of childlike faith. I don’t always get it right, as a matter of fact, many times I blow it. But in this moment and many others like it, my dad taught me how to believe God for big things and small things. After all, as Mark Batterson says, “To the Infinite, all finites are equal.” There is no distinguishing between easy and hard to the Father. All requests are equally doable in his hands. My dad told me the secret that unlocks all secrets. God is good, really good, and I am valuable to Him.
Helping others to obey with childlike faith is the last of seven elements that create a powerful combination which cause our lives to multiply inwardly and outwardly. This comes from a revelation of God’s goodness and trustworthiness. I believe this is the essence of the Great Commission found in the Gospels (and the rest of scripture). I suggest that unless we grow in childlike faith, we will find it difficult to mature as adults in obedience. Ask any adult and they can tell you that childhood follows us into our adult lives in many ways. When childlike faith (in a good Heavenly Father) is awakened in our adult sized bodies, obedience is an inevitable result.
It bears repeating that childlike faith is our attitude of wonder and awe at what Christ has done for us. It is a powerful combination of trust, hope, and unpretentiousness that knows the Father loves us and will lead us well. Many days we want him lead us into bigger things when we are not yet consistent with the basic things. We want new instruction when we’ve not yet obeyed His primary instruction. Let your childlike heart wander into the passage below again. Read it as a child, as if you believe every word.
“That day about three thousand took him at his word, were baptized and were signed up. They committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together, the common meal, and the prayers. Everyone around was in awe—all those wonders and signs done through the apostles! And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common. They sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person’s need was met. They followed a daily discipline of worship in the Temple followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, as they praised God. People in general liked what they saw. Every day their number grew as God added those who were saved.” Acts 2:42-47 Message
We believe of all the elements, this is the one that causes disciples to multiply. They teach others to obey. This element touches all the others. Jesus commanded us to teach others to obey His commandments. His mission is our co-mission. This is the loop pedal of the melody of the other six elements. Nothing can repeat if it’s not intentionally taught to the following generation.
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20 ESV
Allow me to offer a few practical tips on teaching others to obey the commandments of Jesus:
- Obey the elements yourself. You can’t give what you don’t have, and you can’t truly teach what you don’t practice. Information is not the need of this generation; they need someone to interpret the information for them. They need to know what obedience looks like in gray scenarios. They need irrational generosity, not just teaching on tithe. They need to see the life behind the obedience. When they see it, they’ll seek it.
- Be intentional about who you are teaching to obey. Jesus didn’t randomly impart his life and leadership into others. He did it intentionally and with great precision. See Robert Coleman’s book “The Master Plan of Evangelism” to discover more on this theme, but allow me to whet your appetite: He gave 8 methodologies of Jesus’s discipleship methods.
- Selection – he chose a few.
- Association – he was with them.
- Consecration – he asked them to obey.
- Impartation – he gave them himself.
- Demonstration – he showed them how.
- Delegation – he gave them work.
- Supervision – he gave them feedback.
- Reproduction – he told them to multiply.
- Trust Jesus with transformation. You can’t change hearts just like you can’t turn water into wine. That’s a Jesus move. Your job is to teach and train, and Jesus’s job is to transform. Many times we don’t engage because we are outcome oriented instead of obedience oriented. We are afraid we won’t be “successful.” We must define success as engaging, in obedience, to teach others. Jesus won’t fail us. If we plant the seeds, he’ll reap a harvest in them and through them.
- Be fueled by another’s childlike faith. The best thing I can do for my children is continue to grow myself. The greatest gift I give to those I teach is becoming more thoroughly what I am asking them to be. The elements are caught more than taught. We must continually seek for ourselves people and places who can coach and challenge our current state, just as we challenge those we teach. Jesus will continually lead us into new places with Him if we will continually get into the drivers seat as He says: “you’re driving.”
May the Spirit empower you to live the elements. May His grace and love strengthen you in the journey. I want to offer you a simple prayer to pray that will afford you grace as you say “yes” to the journey with Jesus.
Father, in Your goodness, awaken childlike faith in me and through me. You thought I was valuable enough to take my place in death. The Cross speaks of my value in Your eyes, therefore, I want to obey You. I want to walk with you; breath for breath, step for step, heart to heart. Empower me by Your grace to live the elements of repentance, baptism, love, prayer, service, generosity, and teaching others to do the same. Cause my life to multiply as I obey You in each of these areas. You are worth it all. Amen.