“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.”
– Exodus 20:7
If you went to Christian or Catholic school, it’s very possible that you memorized the Ten Commandments. If so, you probably learned that the third commandment — the one that says that you shouldn’t take the Lord’s Name in vain — means that you shouldn’t use it to swear or cuss. While I think this is true, and it’s very unbecoming of Christians (or anyone for that matter) to use God’s Name to curse something or someone, I don’t believe this is the only application of the directive. You see, when the Lord gave His people the authority to carry His Name, He was inviting them to reflect the essence of His character. Nowhere in ancient history was there a God like Yahweh — one who was loving, compassionate, just, merciful, and always good. While pagan deities were often angry and vengeful, the Lord of the Isrealites was perfectly righteous and full of joy! Since there was such a great discrepancy between His nature and that of other “gods,” to take His Name meant to become part of His family and adopt a different set of values — those that mirrored His heart. On the other hand, to take His Name in vain meant behaving in a manner that did not accurately convey His character and was not a good representation of the covenant relationship between Him and His people. For example, taking a life or harming someone under the guise of goodness was using the Lord’s Name wrongly. Likewise, preaching or teaching something that went against His law was also dishonoring His identity. Even today, maintaining the sanctity of our Savior’s Name means that we should represent Him well wherever we go and with whomever we interact. As those who have died to self through the blood of Jesus and are now hidden with Him in Christ, we have the great responsibility of making His invisible attributes visible to a watching world.
My friend, you live and move in the strength of your Savior, and you have been given the incomparable gift of sharing His Name. Since you are the Lord’s beloved, you partake in an eternal covenant that is rooted in His faithfulness, and He offers you the opportunity to represent Him, in word and in deed, every day. As you esteem His glory and emulate His nature, He will do more through your life than your mind can even conceive of; however, you must not take His Name in vain. Gird yourself with spiritual armor, cultivate the fruits of His Spirit, and approach every action and interaction with humility so you can reflect Jesus to everyone you encounter. Be empowered in your call as His ambassador, and know that your life is making a difference as you continually yield it to His good plan.
Jesus, teach me to honor your Name so that I might never take it in vain.
How does recognizing your call as God’s ambassador expand your understanding of what it means to take His Name in vain?
If you’re unable to attend your local church or need some additional weekly inspiration, be sure to tune into Hour of Power every Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. PT on TBN or watch online at hourofpower.org/episode.