Sunday, February 19, 2012

Taking the Lord's Name in Vain

I have been reading and thinking a lot lately about taking the Lord's name in vain and what that means.  I was always taught by my parents, Sunday school teachers, preachers and other grown ups that it meant not saying His name vainly like a curse word.  For example, Jesus Christ is a phrase many use in anger, exasperation, etc.  People also love to curse using the word damn with the word God. 

This is actually called blaspheming the name of God.  "My Name continually every day is blasphemed" (Isaiah 52:5 KJV) or the name of Jesus "they blaspheme that worthy Name by the which ye are called" (James 2:7 KJV)

Many who read this will think I'm a simpleton, perhaps, but a light recently went off in my mind and I really understood the true meaning behind this phrase.

Back in the good ol' days, when a woman married a man, it was never even considered that she would not bear his name.  She became known as Mrs. Marry Man instead of Miss Marry Girl, and it was an honor.  I vaguely remember women who even signed their checks as Mrs. Marry Man; not just Marry Man.  All credit cards were issued in the name of Mr. Man and so the Mrs. would many times sign Mrs. Harry Man.  She bore her husband's name.

When we come to a saving knowledge of who Jesus Christ is, and we ask Him to take over our lives and live through us; thereby becoming our savior, we take on His name.  We become His bride, so to speak; and we bear the name of "Christian" or "Christ Follower" or "Believer".   As a believer in Christ, and therefore, a follower of His, we are called to speak a different language and walk a different walk than the rest of the world.

Sometimes there are people who use the name of Christ to "appear" holy.  This is an entirely different type of taking the Lord's name in vain.  If we say that we belong to Him, but fail to follow His leading, His example in  dying to self, doing only what the Father wants, and living through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are taking His name in vain.  If we ignore His Holy Word, the Bible, the prompting of His Holy Spirit and do what we think is right, we are taking His name in vain.  We are saying one thing, but living something entirely different.

 "This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me; in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.' You leave the Commandment of God, and hold fast the tradition of men." (Mark 7:6-8 RSV)

Does that make you stop in your tracks like it did me?  The actual wording of the Third Commandment is this from Exodus 3:20:
Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
God will hold us responsible for not walking the walk when we are talking the talk!  

Heavenly Father, forgive me for my ignorance.  Thank you that you keep opening my eyes to my sinfulness.  God, I need you to keep my mind constantly stayed upon you and aware that everything I do reflects upon you.  Give me your wisdom, Lord, and a heart that sincerely wants for you to be glorified in my life.  I pray in Jesus' name.   Amen