Bible Reading of the Day: Read Ephesians 5:1-4.

Verse of the Day: “Follow God’s example in everything you do, because you are his dear children” (Ephesians 5:1).

“You mean you’ve never said a cuss word?” Jackie’s eyes widened in disbelief as she rode to volleyball practice with April. They sat together in the back seat of the van that April’s dad drove.

April shrugged and shook her head.

“I can’t believe that,” Jackie said. “I mean, everybody cusses sometimes.” “Not everybody,” April said. “Nobody in my family uses bad language.” “Why not? I mean, there’s nothing wrong with it,” Jackie said. “God just said ‘Do not misuse my name’ or something like that. He didn’t say we can’t cuss.” “Well, yeah, but…”

“If we don’t say his name when we cuss, it’s not bad,” Jackie concluded.

April didn’t know what to say. She was sure Jackie was wrong, but she wasn’t sure why. That night, she told her dad what Jackie had said and asked him if he agreed.

“Well,” he said, “Jackie’s half right. The third commandment says not to misuse God’s name. But that doesn’t mean it’s OK to say anything we want as long as we don’t use God’s name.”

“I didn’t think so,” April said.

“The Bible says to let no unwholesome talk come out of our mouths. That includes obscene or profane language, cruel insults, and dirty jokes.” “I knew it!” April said in a voice of triumph.

“But wait a minute,” Dad said. “Do you know why that kind of talk is wrong?”

April shrugged as if the answer were easy. “Because God said not to do it!”

Dad nodded. “Yes, but why did God say not to do it?”

April’s face clouded with confusion. She answered, “I don’t know.”

“It has to do with purity and self-control. God wants us to be self-controlled because he values self-control. Do you know why he values self-control?”

April thought, then threw up her arms in exasperation. “I don’t know, Dad!”

“Because he is self-controlled himself, April. God doesn’t just control the universe. He’s in perfect control of himself. He never gets carried away. He never loses control. He never says anything obscene, or coarse, or foolish…. And he wants us to imitate his self-control.”

“Can you write all this down so I can remember to tell Jackie?” April asked. Dad smiled. “Oh, I think you’ll do just fine, April.”

TO DISCUSS: Are you ever tempted to “lose control” in your speech? If so, when are you most tempted? How can you follow God’s example in the words you speak?

TO PRAY: “Father, help us to have self-control in what we say and do.”