Taking Christ’s Name in Vain

When I was a child, I was taught to be good and do all the things that good Christians do. Christians don’t smoke or drink, they don’t swear or use Jesus’ name in vain and they go to church. This was life growing up and I thank God that it probably kept me out of much evil, well that and the fact that I am pretty strong-willed and had a praying mother. (Thanks Mom!)

I use to hear people on occasion use the name of Christ as an adjective added to their rant, kinda like a swear. Somewhere along the way, whether directly taught or implied, I believed that if we used Christ’s name as a “swear word” we were using His name in vain. Now, though I don’t think it is good to do this, it really isn’t proper teaching.

Years ago, my thinking on this shifted. I began to understand that we take Christ’s name in vain when we don’t believe His Word. If I don’t trust Him for my healing when I am sick, I am taking His name in vain. If I don’t believe He will provide for me when I have a need, I am taking His name in vain. Though this belief is true, I believe that there is a deeper meaning.

2Co 6:1 Working together with Him, we also appeal to you, “Don’t receive God’s grace in vain.”

Many preachers teach that we should never continue in sin after receiving the grace of God. So true! I think the biggest problem is living with a sin consciousness where we establish a bunch of rules over our life; do this and don’t do that. We burden ourselves down by adding the pressure of always doing good and avoiding *evil only to find ourselves doing evil.

*I used the word “evil” rather than “sin”, because the word “sin” isn’t taken as serious nowadays. Evil is much more accurate.

The burden of sin avoidance is not something we were meant to carry. This is why Jesus said “Come to Me”. If we are continually going to Him, we will want to please Him. If we are listening to His voice, we will find ourselves doing what is right. We must stop trying to avoid sin and rather spend our efforts enjoying Jesus (notice I didn’t say ‘enjoying life’). Life will be more enjoyable when we find comfort in Jesus and His sacrifice.

I believe that when we don’t rely and trust in His sacrifice, we are doing things in our own effort and thus, taking His name in vain. Our efforts can NEVER get us closer to God. It doesn’t matter how much we pray, how much we study or give in the offering at church, how “good” we are or how much we avoid sin. The only reason we can be close to God is JESUS. That is the good news. No more struggling in our fallen state trying to reach a standard that is unreachable. Thank-you Jesus!

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