Just as a precursor, my motivation for writing this specific entry is because it has been breaking my heart hearing personal testimonies from people who have been turned away from God specifically BECAUSE OF the church (aka because of Christians). It seriously really really makes me sad. People are missing out on salvation because of this and there is nothing more important in the world than that.
Now with that said.....here's the deal....we have absolutely been butchering the 3rd commandment as Christians lately. I need to set the record straight so that we can love, serve, and honor God adequately.
The 3rd commandment reads as follows:
"You shall not take the name of Jehova your God in vain, for Jehova will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain." - Exodus 20:7
(Now I know that the actual translation doesn't use God's name (Jehova), it actually says "LORD," BUT we aren't talking about Lord Voldemort here, God is not He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named....He is our dad, so I am not afraid to call Him by name.)
What does this commandment mean? It means to not say things like, "Oh my God!" or "Jesus CHRIST!" and things of that nature. Now to expand on that last point...I was totally lying. That is NOT what the commandment means at all. Frankly, this seems like a small little thing, but it actually holds great magnitude and is imperative that we understand what the true meaning is, which is actually common sense but we are just stupid and ignorant often times. I don't think God would waste one of His 10 commandments just to tell us not to cuss.
So then, what does it ACTUALLY mean to "not take the name of Jehova your God in vein?" The best way to explain is through marriage, which is another gift from God that teaches us how to love Him (just like the commandments are). When a bride is wed to her husband, she takes his name. Sound familiar? She now carries the name of her husband. She represents her husband in whatever she does and is in fact "one flesh" with her husband. In that same regard, we are not supposed to take God's name in vein. We should not take the title of CHRISTian (bearing the name of Christ) if we are not going to live our lives according to His will, His commands, and His commission.
To call yourself a Christian and then go out and live a life of sin and total disregard of God is the direct violation of THIS commandment. To call yourself a a Christian and then be unforgiving, ungracious, and unmerciful is a direct violation of this commandment.
If I could put the commandment into my own words, I would phrase it like this....
"Do not claim to be a Christian if you will not live your life as Christ did." THAT is what the commandment means.
If we just chalk this commandment up to God telling us NOT to cuss, then we have severely missed out on a major command from our Father.
If you are going to be a Christian, it needs to be the MOST IMPORTANT thing in your life. EVERYTHING you do, everything you desire should be modeled off of your relationship with God. Taking His name in vein is a big no-no. The biggest reason God hates when people take His name is vein is NOT because it hurts HIM, it is because it hurts those of us that don't know Him.
When we take on the name of "Christian," we are official representatives of God. We are the light of the world. We are the ones that show God to others to bring them into His kingdom. If we MISrepresent God, then not only will people miss out on a relationship with their Heavenly Father, but even more importantly our Heavenly Father will miss out on a relationship with His people.
I have spoken to a few people just in the last month who have grown to HATE God because of other "Christians." These "Christian" friends of theirs have tainted the name of God to these people because they have taken the name of God in vein. They now believe that God is just like them: spiteful, selfish, angry, vengeful, and arrogant.
It is VITAL that we obey this 3rd commandment and that we adhere to it closely and with all our hearts. We are God's ambassadors and the world CANNOT afford for us to misrepresent Him and turn people away from Him. We are supposed to be doing the opposite. We are supposed to be bringing people into His kingdom, not pushing them away because of our disobedience.
I'll just end with this, if you want to live according to the ways of this world, then go for it....just don't pretend that you're a Christian. It hurts God, it hurts other real Christians, and it hurts non-Christians. It's just an overall bad situation. Jesus said that if you love Him, then you will obey His commands (John 14:15). That is what HE said, not me. I love Jesus. I do not obey Him perfectly, but my heart is fully dedicated to trying. He does not demand that we be perfect. If that were the case, I would be in a LOT of trouble. That's all I've got for now, so until next time........PEACE!