Do you care about your name? Do you like it when people slander you or say things that are not true about you? Have you ever had that happen? I have. No one enjoys that. We want to protect our name. The Bible says a good name is better than riches (see Proverbs 22:1).
God cares about His name, too. The third of the Ten Commandments tells us, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain” (Exodus 20:7 NKJV).
How do people take the Lord’s name in vain? Obviously one way is profanity. I find it interesting how often people use the name of Jesus Christ this way. Even unbelievers, in their spiritually deadened state, know there is something different, something powerful about the name of Jesus Christ, even when they are misusing His name.
Another way people take His name in vain is when they say, “I swear to God.” Why do they say that? Maybe their word isn’t reliable, so they think they have to swear. Remember the phrase “a man’s word is his bond”? If someone said they would do something, it meant they would do it. How about when two people commit themselves to each other in marriage? How about honoring those vows? When we have to swear to God, it shows there’s something wrong. Our word should be enough.
I think the worst way to take God’s name in vain is when we say one thing and do another, which is hypocrisy. Jesus said, “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46 NKJV). The hypocrisy of the church is far worse than the profanity in the streets.