• Exodus 20:7 (ESV)

    “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.

The thought occurred to me this morning as I was making breakfast; what does it really mean to take someone’s name. Is it simply a matter of using someone’s name out of context or flippantly as I had been taught in Sunday School, or is there something deeper than that?

In our culture, when a wife and a husband wed the wife takes the last name of the husband. Whatever sort of name the husband’s family had made for themselves was now at the wife’s disposal as well. Any influence his name carried, any wealth attached to his name was now all hers too.

When my wife and I wed, she once was known as a Johnston and became a Jones. She took my name. This meant she was no longer the same person she once was; she was connected with me and my reputation, character, and integrity. It also meant that she and I were intertwined by common goals and interests.

As Christians, we take the name of Christ, we bear His name as our identity. We are accepted into God’s family and adopted with full rights and an inheritance with an expectation that we should be kingdom-building, a common goal.

I’m sure many don’t struggle with taking the Lord’s name in vain in terms of using it as part of a swear or curse, but I wonder how many people have “taken the Lord’s name” by calling themselves “Christian” meanwhile refusing to be part of His mission?

We’ve been given spiritual power, influence, and gifts to minister to a sick and dying world. Calling ourselves a Christian without living like Christ would definitely be considered “taking His name in vain”.

Have you taken His name in vain?

This could be an excellent time to live up to the name you’ve been given and work together with Him to build His kingdom!

p.s.    I’m aware that this verse is specifically dealing with how we “use” His name in our speech but scriptures can deal with multiple issues at once, thus an alternate application for this verse. Isn’t His Word amazing!?