We hear and see OMG constantly. What does "taking the Lord's name in vain" mean to you?
Webster's defines VAIN as: of no real value, empty, futile, blasphemous manner
It's one of the 10 commandments to not say God's name in vain. Jewish people won't even write it!! Now Christ doesn't "elevate" this in the gospels like he does for adultery, murder, etc. I wish he had. For me this is one of those 'sit as His feet times' where I would ask, "Now what about this Lord? What do you have to say?" Thank God for the Holy Spirit and His word, right? There are many examples in the New Testament that hone in on this commandment. Let's take a little look.
Jesus is constantly rebuking the Pharisees. What about when He tells his disciples to not pray on the corner like the religious? In Matthew 6:5 He tells them, "When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full." They were saying God's name in vain! Do we too try to be eloquent in our prayers aloud before others to the point we are more concerned with what others think as compared to hallowing His name? This is of no value to God. It is empty.
Here's another example. Have you ever had someone speak about God in vain to you because they know you are a Christian? I've had drug addicts want something from me and begin talking about God because they know I'm a Christian. One girl went on and on to the point that it was such a mockery I actually prayed to God afterwards that if she was really insincere to show me. She went to jail the next morning. We have had some employees try to manipulate us by speaking about God when they've been laid off for breaking big rules. We hear it all from "I want to go to church now" to "How can a pastor fire someone?" to "I'm born again, can I get my job back?" Do not mock the God of Israel. Scary. This is blasphemy.
Another common way that I am guilty of vainly speaking of God is when speaking "churchenese". Ouch. Have you ever used God as an excuse? "Oh, I'll pray about it." Now don't get me wrong, at times our hearts are sincere and we mean it and we actually do it. There are big times we need to respond with that statement, but responding to a friend about going to the movies is not one of those times. I'm all for praying without ceasing, but let's not use God as an excuse. Let our yes be yes and our no be no.
Everything about God is holy, including His name. How do we pray, and even more importantly, how do we teach our children to pray in His name? Jesus teaches us to pray in the Lord's Prayer in Matthew 6:9 "...Hallowed be Your name." Even Jesus specifically explains how holy His name is. (Before I became saved, I vainly repeated this entire prayer weekly during Catholic mass. It had no meaning to me; just an empty, repetitious prayer.) Hallowed means sanctified, set apart. And name in Hebrew means the manifestation of someones character. Praying "in Jesus' name" is not a magic formula just to end prayers to get what we want. Strong's Concordance says "Thus "praying in the name of Christ" means to pray as directed (authorized) by Him, bringing revelation that flows out of being in His presence." ("According to Hebrew notions, a name is inseparable from the person to whom it belongs, i.e. it is something of his essence. Therefore, in the case of the God, it is specially sacred" (Souter).)
I don't mean for this post to be condemning. I am as guilty as the next. Thank God we serve a merciful God. Let's examine our hearts, chose our words carefully and not speak of God in vain. Did he die in vain? No! Let our speech about Him be in the utmost sincere respect, love and honor. By doing this we set a good example for our children to honor His name.
"The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart." Luke 6:45