The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Life - This col­umn is based on the words and writ­ings of the late Rev. Billy Gra­ham.

Q: When my son started his first year of col­lege I asked what he hoped to be­come af­ter grad­u­a­tion. His an­swer star­tled me when he said, “I want to be a VIP!” I don’t think I’ve ever heard that as an oc­cu­pa­tion. Doesn’t it seem a rather empty goal? – S.M.

A: In many con­texts, VIP means “Very Im­por­tant Per­son.” Sur­pris­ingly, many peo­ple as­pire to at­tain just that; be­com­ing a very im­por­tant per­son with­out pay­ing their dues and be­ing a per­son of in­tegrity in or­der to de­serve oth­ers’ re­spect. This is es­pe­cially true in a so­ci­ety that cel­e­brates star­dom.

But the acro­nym also of­fers us a char­ac­ter test. The V stands for VI­SION, for the Bi­ble tells us that with­out vi­sion peo­ple per­ish (Proverbs 29:18). Hav­ing a vi­sion means see­ing what can be done, what ought to be done, and work­ing to get it done. The high­est vi­sion we can have is to glo­rify God by dis­cov­er­ing God’s will for our lives – and then do­ing it.

The let­ter I stands for IN­TEGRITY, mean­ing that a per­son is the same on the in­side as he or she ap­pears on the out­side. There must be no dis­crep­ancy be­tween what we say and what we do, be­tween our walk and our talk.

The P stands for PRES­ENCE – God’s pres­ence in our lives. With­out God’s help we are doomed. Only in Christ do we find out who we are, why we are here, and where we are go­ing – and only in Him do we find the power to ful­fill our God-given vi­sion.

A gen­uine VIP is a per­son with vi­sion, in­tegrity and God’s pres­ence.

Pray for your child. Teach your child truth. Show your child how to live righ­teously through your own ex­am­ple. God will bless you.

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