Seeds of Promise Series by Shenica Graham
Maximizing Ministry Part X.III – The Third Commandment
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Many people translate this verse to mean, “do not use profane (cussing) language.” I do not disagree that this is a valid revelation too. However, it may be more than a charge to stop the foul-mouthed rant that misuses God’s name. When we become a part of God’s body (his obedient, “… my people, who are called by my name…” (II Chronicles 7:14)), we take on the name of Him who has called us out of darkness (I Peter 2:9).
Therefore, to “take His name in vain” could mean to fail in the proper reverence and use of His name once it is to us imparted and attached. We represent Him after such naming and have the responsibility to uphold the standard set by Him, that none be mistaken in attributing our failed state to the character of God as His own failure. God does not want people to be confused and think that any bad behavior of ours is a reflection of His own – because people look at us as the image of Him who created us, once we receive His name.
The Third Commandment
Scripture Basis – Exodus 20:7 “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
If we do not uphold the honor and reverence due unto His name, valuing and protecting its use, we make Him ashamed, speaking vain (empty) words with our lips, which have no foundation in deeds of love toward Him. This is what is meant by lip service (Isaiah 29:13). So not taking His name in vain is putting action behind our words to honor Him, proving our relationship with Him is not devoid of meaning. If we will properly reverence God’s name, we can fulfill the responsibilities of being so called. We may be rewarded openly for our alms in secret (Matthew 6:4), and for our open confession of Him, Jesus will claim us before Our Father in heaven (Matthew 10:32-33).
Honoring God’s Name
Do not be afraid to say, “I’m sorry.” Perhaps the most notorious proponent of vain living with God is pride. Life in vain is one without a purpose. We cannot hope to realize our potential in God’s purpose if we vainly bear His name – without investing our heart. Taking God’s name in vain has a lot to do with how we see ourselves. The more highly we self-regard, the more we will see ourselves as equals with God, rather than subordinate to Him. It is true that He has called us friends rather than servants (), and that we may be joint heirs with Christ; but neither of these is a license to cut short God’s due reverence in favor of our own puffing up. King David was not a perfect man, but he repented often. And for His ready humility, he was called a man after God’s own heart. If we cannot be sorry for our injuries of God’s trust, we will have trouble ascribing to ourselves His name without doing so in vain, because pride will be the iniquity that separates us from Him. It takes a strong person to apologize, and even more so to sin no more. We must be thus tender-hearted without a weak mind, quick to repent and slow to wrath. We must see any honor God bestows upon us a privilege, not a right. And we know that if we do stumble, we have an advocate with God; but we should not use that as an occasion to sin at will; at some point we must make a decision to draw a solid line between us and whatsoever besets us from following after Him. Then, we must never turn back.
Give Thanks. Counting your blessings should give you a good picture that something bigger than you is at work. If you do not feel that way, you have not counted high enough. Keep counting until you understand that your wealth belongs to God; your family is a gift from God; your job is His promotion at work; your breath is from His life source; and your soul is on lease from Him.
Make A Decision. A double-minded person is unstable in all his ways. I do not say either choose God or not (Malachi 2:2); but choose God because the end thereof is life. Live (Deuteronomy 30:19). Decide to go all-in with God. Sell – out. Be HOT (Revelation 3:16) – don’t NOT. God is not impressed with our wealth (Acts 10:34, Romans 2:11). He wants to see us give of ourselves. If you have never been uncomfortable, you’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of what God wants to do through you. If it’s so easy, you have room to grow. Do more than you’ve ever done before if you want to grow the impact of the Holy Spirit working in you. When you’ve given your all, those pains of weakness leaving your body should make you want to get past the First Grade of salvation, and move on to discipleship. The real opposite of vain living is a life that engenders life in others. Your light shining should inspire the dim to change their bulb.
Follow Peace. If you lack peace, get your mind off of your own problems, and help somebody else find some joy. If you are a rare kind with no troubles, teach a class on what you’ve got because the world is not really looking for the pot of gold – it is peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:7), not money (Ecclesiastes 5:10) (the love of which is peace enemy number one (I Timothy 6:10)). It makes sense that the peacemakers will be called the children of God – like Father, like daughter and Son. God is a God of peace. War comes when peace is trodden underfoot. When you help others to find inner peace, you help them to close the door on fear and doubt, which are perpetual drains that weaken the spirit and sadden the countenance. The peaceful cast their cares upon God who cares for them (I Peter 5:7), knows how much they can bear, and is their strong tower (Proverbs 18:10). Being a peacemaker requires a spiritual connection with God. You will not be able to accomplish it on your own. You will honor God with your effort to be more like Him.
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