In Part 1 of this series, we looked at what Pharisees are and how to raise them. If we don’t want our kids to be Pharisees, what do we want? I think we want them to be successful and prosperous — not in the world’s eyes, but in God’s. Now, one way to do that is what Jesus Christ did: Live a perfect, sinless life. Thanks to our great-great-grandfather Adam (I Corinthians 15:22), we don’t even get the chance to attempt that first method of pleasing God. And neither do our kids. So what gives them hope of prospering? I’m glad you asked.
What Kind of Person Does God Prosper?
In an earlier blog post, we discussed how we can’t truly show mercy unless our kids realize they’re in the wrong and undeserving of our graciousness. This is modeled after God, who is “ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon [Him]” (Psalm 86:5).
It’s not really what we know or do that invites God’s mercy and grace (and, by extension, His blessings of an abundant, prosperous life): It’s our heart attitude.
We’ve already discussed how pride repels God and His favor. By contrast, brokenness, confessional living, a repentant spirit, humility is what invites God’s mercy and grace. Just take a look at the following Scriptures:
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” (Psalm 51:17)
“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13)
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16)
“I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:32)
“But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” (James 4:6)
How Can We Train a Prosperous Person?
The phrase “some things are better caught than taught” comes to mind, but at the same time, we can both model and encourage humble, confessional attitudes in our kids. First, there’s the modeling part. As we show them what James 5:16 looks like by confessing our own sins to our children and asking forgiveness when we sin against them, we’ll demonstrate the kind of behavior and attitude we want to see in them. We’ll also foster an atmosphere of confession within our home and family.
Secondly, we need to encourage confession over covering, and realistic humility over prideful self-righteousness. How do we do that? In my opinion, that’s the hardest part. On one hand, we don’t want to unnecessarily tempt our kids to be deceptive, but on the other hand, we don’t want to be flippant about sin. When our kids learn to presume upon our grace (Romans 6:1), we can put them in a dangerous position regarding their relationship with God. In Part 3 of this series, we’ll look at some practical ways to put this into practice.