Encouragement for your daily walk with God
God is serious about His name. He neither holds back a little chuckle, nor says, “It’s cool,” nor holds guiltless the one who blasphemes His name. It’s so serious that one of the Ten Commandments says that we are forbidden to take His name in vain. And, if God is so demanding about this, we’d do well to know what it means.
As a child, I was taught that to take God’s name in vain meant to say “cuss” words. My Mother would often say to me, “Rickey, you’re not allowed to say those ‘nasty’ words.” Now that I’m older (and I hope a little wiser), I find that kind of instruction akin to Paul’s counsel to the Ephesian Christ followers to “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth” [4.29a NASB].
The Hebrew word “vain” in the third Commandment, means not to “to lift or bear God’s name for any empty, purposeless, false, or futile purpose.” Therefore, taking God’s name in vain can be done verbally as well as by misrepresentation.
As a Christ follower, you now bear His name. You represent Him to the world. So, I implore you to represent Him accurately. Let me say the Commandment this way: “You shall not misrepresent the Lord’s reputation by using His name in any vain, purposeless, inaccurate or empty way — EVER!”
One practical way we can prevent taking His name in vain is by walking our talk. That was the religious leaders’ problem in the New Testament. Jesus said, “This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me” [Matthew 15.8]. Author, professor, and theologian Elton Trueblood wrote, “The worst blasphemy is not profanity, but lip service.” I agree. Simply moving your lips doesn’t equal a Christ-honoring life!
We shudder to think that a single blasphemous word would pass our lips. But let’s not stop there. Let’s think about that third Commandment when we fail to represent God/Christ accurately. You are a Christ follower. You bear His name. Bear it well!
You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. Exodus 20.7