I am currently taking my students through a six week series that I wrote on the 10 Commandments. My goal for this series is to show just how relevant the 10 Commandments are to them today as they were when Moses brought them down from Mt. Sinai. We have made our way through the first 4 over the past 3 weeks, but there was one in particular that caught me by surprise. That’s the great thing about being a writer that writes most of the bible studies he uses, God is the one calling the shots, I’m just putting the words on the page. The one that caught me by surprise as I was working through the writing process was the 3rd Commandment. Most of know it as “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain…” (Exodus 20:7 KJV). Most of us have been taught that this is the “OMG” Commandment. We think that this is all there is to the commandment- as long as we don’t say “OMG” then we can check this commandment off as followed. I was no different for the longest time. I too bought into that being the only premise of the command. God convicted me of that not long ago, however, and I started looking at it closer. Tonight, I would like to spend some time talking about how this commandment is not only broken often by God-fearing Christians, but why this is the commandment we break the most often; and maybe share some insight that can help the habits that are literally dragging God’s Holy name through the mud.
To begin our look at this, I want to emphasize how important it is to be in God’s word daily. I am just as guilty of this as anybody else and I am constantly struggling to stay in God’s word faithfully & daily. When we do immerse ourselves in God’s word regularly, we tend not to miss key interpretations of what God is trying to show us. If you stop and think, do you actually believe that God gave us a command that its sole purpose was to get us not to say His name in an inappropriate way? There HAS to be more to it than that- and there is. Let me share another translation that puts this commandment in the context that we can grasp: “Do not misuse the name of the Lord your God….” (Exodus 20:7 HCSB). Both verses say the same thing about how we use God’s name. The word “vain” in the KJV means to misuse. When we look at the commandment in this light, we can begin to see that it encompasses far more than just using His name improperly in an expression.
We misuse the name of God all the time. Most of the time it is unintentional and we don’t even realize that we are doing it. However, when we proclaim Jesus as the Lord of our lives and we stand on the promises that God has fulfilled through His son on the cross, then we effectively give our entire lives over to Him. That means our words, deeds, thoughts, and in this day and time, our posts on social media. Take a second and think about everything that comes out of your mouth in a day’s time. Now think about how many people see you in action every day. Now think about the number of posts & pictures you upload on social media- mind blowing isn’t it? If we call Jesus Lord, if we stand on the promises of God, then all of that no longer has our name signed to it- it has God’s name attached. Would you be willing to take full responsibility for what people say, do, how they act, and what they post? Probably not, in fact we would all run from that responsibility quickly. That responsibility is exactly what Jesus took on when He chose to climb on that cross for us. He CHOSE death so that he could choose to sign HIS name to all our actions, words, and fortunate for us- our sins. Is it no wonder that the church turns many people off? They simply see people who claim to follow Christ doing anything and everything BUT following Christ. If you had to place Jesus’ name and reputation on everything you said and how you acted, would you change the way you lived life? If you had to the place the name & reputation of your Savior on all of your posts, are there some you would want to delete? How are you using God’s name and what kind of life are you attaching it to on a daily basis?
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a post of condemnation, but instead a post for hopeful reformation in the way we treat the name of our God. This is sin that everyone is guilty of and we are all covered up in it. The hope here lies in the fact that God is constantly willing to forgive us and He continues signing His name on everything that we do and say and post. We serve a loving God, a God who sent His Son to die on a cross. That Son has the sweetest name of all, a special name- a name whereby men must be saved. The least we can do is honor that name and that reputation with every fiber of our being.
In Christ Alone,
Rev. Bro. Coach