This is one of the Ten Commandments I most misunderstood growing up: Don’t take the Lord’s name in vain. I thought this commandment had a very specific and limited application. Basically it boils down to not saying, “Oh, my God!” when you are shocked or excited. It means not saying, “Jesus Christ!” when someone cuts you off in traffic.
But this commandment is about far more than how you use God’s name as a vocabulary word – it’s about how you take His name as a way of life.
In other words, do you live according to who He is? Does your life reflect His identity? Or do you live in ways that are incongruent with the name you took when you decided to call yourself a Christian?
Unfortunately, my tendency – and maybe yours – is to take this commandment almost as a threat. We think God’s focus is our behavior. But our actions are only a small part of what it means to take God’s name in vain.
In reality, this commandment is directly connected to how we view ourselves.
God has given you the gift of identity. He’s given you His identity, His sufficiency, and His qualifications.
And God wants to give you His name in your situation, in your weakness, and in your need. But you have to choose to take it.