What does it mean to “take the Lord’s name in vain”?
When I was a kid, I thought it meant to curse. To use the Lord’s name in profanity.
After I became a Christian, I thought it also meant to use the Lord’s name in a careless manner—as in, “oh my _____.”
Those are a couple of ways that we can misuse the Lord’s name in speech. But that’s not the main point of this commandment– “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.”
A pastor explained that in this verse in Exodus 20, the word “take” means “to lift up,” and “name” means “character, who you are.” The word “vain” means “worthless, empty, false.”
So, to take the name of someone means to lift up their character. And taking God’s name in vain means to take something that is special and make it common. When we speak of God in a way that empties Him of His weight and glory, that is a lie.
“The idea is . . . ‘don’t empty the name.’ . . . Don’t empty God of His weight and glory. We misuse His name when we speak of God in a way that empties Him of His significance.” (John Piper)
As a Christian, I have taken the name of Christ–I am a Christ-follower. My life should lift up His name in a way that honors Him.
There’s more to it than just words. My character needs to show who God truly is.
If you’d like to hear more of the pastor’s lesson, you can follow this link: