Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Spirit vs. Letter

Hmmm...just realized how hopeless I am at this blog thing. I tend to wait til I can think of something really astounding to say before I make a post. Result? I never post anything. Whether this is a lack of creativity or just plain laziness I don't know. However, I am determined to force myself write more. Well, at least til I leave for college, because then I'm not really sure when I'll have any free time. So anyways, here goes, and sorry for my long absence.

"Thou shalt not take the name of thy Lord God in vain." As one of the ten commandments most of us have either heard or memorized this phrase. But most of us also pass it over without thought, letting the words slide off our tongues without taking consideration of its meaning. Most of us think "here, at least, is one commandment I don't have to worry about." But, as so many of the others, this one too has a deeper meaning. Like lusting is the same as adultery and hate is comparable to murder, so taking the Lord's name in vain has more than just face value.

Not only is taking His name in vain something we must literally avoid with our speech, it is also something we ought to guard against in our actions. By claiming the name of Jesus, by calling ourselves Christians we are representing Him. If we play church, act hypocritically and disobediently we are casting a false light on His righteous name. This is "taking His name in vain" or more literally making a mockery of it. When we talk the talk but don't walk the walk it misrepresents Christ to the world around us and gives Him a bad reputation because of our folly.

There are more ways yet to take the Lord's name in vain. (Didn't know it was such a toughie did you?) Moving on to speech, swearing is not the only way that we can disgrace Him. Even by speaking irreverently or flippantly about Him, we are not taking Him seriously and thus throw dirt on His holy name. The Pharisees in the Bible were so careful to literally not take the Lord's name in vain that they would not even say his name. Wherever they read the word YAHWEH they would mentally say Jehovah. Yet they blasphemed His name by their self-righteous actions, priding themselves as God's chosen ones and having a "holier-than thou" attitude they were a disgrace to the name they called their own.

These are the people who, on the day of judgement, will say "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name..." and He will say "I never knew you." Pretty harsh. I guess all of us could profit from taking a closer look at this commandment and being more careful how we act as Christians in reflecting God's holy name.

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