Bible Reading of the Day: Read Ephesians 5:5-9.

Verse of the Day: “For though your hearts were once full of darkness, now you are full of light from the Lord, and your behavior should show it!” (Ephesians 5:8).

“Cole got in trouble today,” Yvonne told her father on the way home. Cole sat in the desk next to her at school.

“Again?” Dad asked. “What did he do this time?”

“He stole Gina’s watch, then told everybody it was his.”

Dad shook his head but said nothing. It seemed as though his daughter came home from school every day with a different tale about Cole’s conduct. They drove for a few blocks in silence.

Yvonne finally broke the silence. “Daddy?” she said. “Cole told me he didn’t do anything wrong. He said that Gina’s parents are rich, and she could get a new watch every day if she wanted.”

Dad nodded. “Hmm,” he said. He thought for a moment. “It sounds to me like Cole didn’t just want to take Gina’s watch-he wanted to take God’s place as well.”

“What do you mean, Daddy?”

Dad shrugged. “You see, sugar, God has already said that being greedy and taking things that don’t belong to you are wrong. But some people, instead of worshiping God and accepting what he says about right and wrong, decide that they should be able to make up their own rules. So they try to do God’s job for him. But when they do that, they show that they are worshiping the things they want instead of God. Getting those things is more important to them than doing what God says. Instead of controlling their desires, they’re controlled by their desires.”

“I’m not like that, am I, Daddy?”

“We’ve all been like that sometimes, Yvonne. But God wants to help us be self-controlled. He wants our behavior to show that we worship him, not our own desires.”

“It’s not wrong to want things, is it, Daddy?”

“No, no,” Dad answered. “Not at all. But it’s wrong when the things we want-and the ways we try to get them-make us disobey God.”

“It’s not wrong for me to want an ice-cream cone right now, is it, Daddy?” Yvonne asked, her eyes bright and pleading.

Dad smiled and shook his head at Yvonne’s clever manipulation of the conversa­tion. He reached out a hand and started tickling his daughter.

TO DISCUSS: Does your behavior show that you worship God? If not, why not? If so, how? Do you control your desires, or are you controlled by your desires?

TO PRAY: “God, thank you that, though our hearts were once full of darkness, we are now full of light from the Lord. Help us to show by our actions that we love and worship you. May we do only what is good and right and true.”