Misusing the Name of God
I hear more and more Christians taking the Lord’s name in vain, and I believe they do so without even considering what they are saying and doing.
“‘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)
I was at an apologetics conference a few weeks ago, and a woman sitting three seats down from me was exclaiming, “Oh my god!” at every shocking story, and I don't think she realized what she was doing—and she's not the only one. It has become so commonplace to blaspheme God's name this way, but we as Christians must look different from this world. We cannot love this world or the things in it, which includes common phrases used in this world, especially if those phrases are a sin against God!
"Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong." (1 Corinthians 16:13)
If we are allowing the culture to penetrate us and lead us into sin, then we are not on our guard or standing strong. James addressed this problem with language in chapter 3 of his book.
"But no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring." (James 3:8-12)
This blasphemy also indicates that we have lost reverence for the name of God. We’ve discussed this idea of reverence on The Constant Battle several times (Fear of the Lord, Wisdom, The Temple of the Holy Spirit) and how it might be declining among American Christians. When we lower our standards in one area it tends to have a ripple effect in other areas of our lives. “The Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.” I take this at face value, and I would not want the Lord God Almighty to declare me guilty because I know I cannot pay the penalty for my own sins.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
We are called to reject this world (1 John 2:15-18, Romans 12:2), and we are commanded to not misuse the name of God. If you've gotten into the habit of misusing God's name in this way, it will take time to break it. When you feel yourself about to misuse God's name, substitute it with goodness or gosh or make up a word and get a laugh! Never lose sight of the reverence you should have for the Almighty name of God (Philippians 2:10-11, Acts 4:12, Proverbs 18:10) and do not take His name in vain by using it as an exclamation...or an acronym.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.