The apostle Paul once said to his disciple Timothy, "Train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come."Paul was rightly reminding his young friend Timothy that there is nothing on earth as valuable as godliness. If God is real, if there really is a supreme ruler of the universe (and I believe there is), then our response to Him is the most important thing about us.
This is a good time of year to think about godliness as many of you who are parents and grandparents are spending a lot of money and time getting your children ready to return to school.
You are buying them new clothes, new notebooks, and new crayons; you are making sure they did their summer reading, and you are beginning to give those pep talks about how "this is going to be a great year."
All of that is important and has some value, but what have you done lately to instill godliness in your child's life? Ultimately their school will only take them so far, but their relationship with God will have bearing on them for the rest of eternity.
So the question for you as a parents, as one whom God has entrusted with this child, is how are you instilling godliness into their lives? This is the most important question you have to answer as a parent. One day when you stand before God to give an account for your life, that is the very question He will ask you.
In the hustle and bustle of getting back to school I want to encourage you parents to take a step toward training your child in godliness and I have a few very practical steps to help you lead your children in the way they should go before a Holy God.
The first that is essential is that you need to be active in a Bible believing church. This doesn't mean that you are a member and never go; this means that you are actively living out your faith with other believers. This is God's vision and call for your life and the life of your child.
The second is that you lead your family in a regular family devotional. This could be once a week but there is something sacred about a family sitting down together to read the bible and to pray. These intentional efforts of Bible study will leave lasting impressions on your child's heart.
Finally, I would encourage you to look for the teaching moments. When your children are doing math homework take that opportunity to say something like, "God is a God of order, he has ordered everything in this world in a way that we can measure and count it."
Just a small moment, but the more you as a parent can connect everything from math to baseball back to God the more your child will see God in the world.
God has given you a huge responsibility in raising your child. I pray that you would find favor and blessing from the Lord in this monumental task, and I pray that you would be intentional about doing the most important thing in parenting -- training your child in godliness.
Jason Dees is senior pastor at First Baptist Church of Covington. He can be reached at 770-786-9031 or www.firstbaptistcovington.com or www.facebook.com/jasondees.