Do You Even Lift?

This is a devotional I wrote for the weekly email for my company’s Christian Diversity Network Association, based on a topic I covered in a previous blog called Superstitianity. In the interest of padding my blog, I am posting a slightly modified version here:

 

 

“You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain…” – Exodus 20:7

Some translations say “you shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God,” and another valid translation might be to say “we should not lift the LORD’s name in vain.”

Most people tend to apply this verse to the very specific situation of essentially using God’s name as a curse word. Personally, I avoid using “God” and “Jesus” as exclamatory statements when I’m not actually talking about God, but I don’t think that’s the only way to apply the third of the Ten Commandments.

Not to be confused with taking something in VEIN, which is dangerous and possibly illegal if not administered by a medical practitioner.

Not to be confused with taking something in VEIN, which is dangerous and possibly illegal if not administered by a medical practitioner.

If I think about my own name and what it means to me, my hope is that people will treat it respectfully. A name isn’t just a label; it’s a representation of who I am. It’s my reputation, and my identity. If you’ve ever been the victim of slander, gossip or identity theft, or if you’ve ever done something that ruined your reputation, you know exactly how important a name is.

Or, if your name is "Daria" but the lady at McDonald's adds an extra I after the D when she calls out your order!

Or, if your name is “Daria” but the lady at McDonald’s adds an extra I after the D when she calls out your order!

The word Christian means “like Christ.” As Christians, we are supposed to be “like Christ.” We are bearing God’s name wherever we go, and taking it with us.

The words that come from our mouths are important, but it fades in comparison to how we live our lives. First and foremost, we must make sure that when we call ourselves followers of God, it is being demonstrated in how we choose to live our lives. Whether by our words or by our actions, we should make sure we are lifting up God’s name at all times.

Do you even lift?

Do you even lift?

While we can be thankful that there is “now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1), our response should always be to demonstrate our gratitude by wearing God’s name with honor and respect.

Imagine if your actions, attitudes, words, and decisions today were printed out on a piece of paper, with space at the bottom for someone to sign their approval. Would you feel comfortable putting God’s signature there?

Is there an area of your life that you don’t feel is demonstrating respect for God’s name?

Are my relationships and interactions with others reflective of my relationship with God?

  • http://www.facebook.com/laura.cowan.520 Laura Cowan

    Thanks, Chris. Great blog.

  • http://www.facebook.com/micahcowan Micah Cowan

    It’s worth pointing out, that the original text is very unambiguously translated as “You shall not take[/lift] the name of Yahweh, your God, in vain.” This is pretty easily verified without resorting to the original Hebrew, by turning to the front of most Bibles and finding the note where it says that wherever they’ve written LORD in all caps, it represents a place where the actual name of God, יהוה, occurred. They never actually write God’s name in the Bible, because some people felt it might violate this exact verse to do so (or to read it aloud under some situations), so they used the LORD as a stand in where they otherwise would have written “Yahweh” (or perhaps “Jehovah”, if they were still confused by the Hebrew practice of placing the vowel marks for Adonai (“lord”) under the consonants for Yahweh).

    So, given that the original intent was clearly to prevent people from disrespecting God’s name by uttering it aloud too casually, I feel it’s a tad silly for people to apply it as insistently to the word “God” as so many people do. Granted, you can say that the spirit of the text still applies to however you refer to God, whether by his true name or not, but that seems more appropriate to private censorship than for application to others. If it had been intended to apply to all references to God, then it seems to me it wouldn’t have explicitly given the name in that verse.

    (Of course, certain sects would be offended by the fact that I wrote out “Yahweh” above (and again here), either the English and/or the Hebrew versions.)

    Among other things that I’ve often thought were strange, are phrases such as “straight from the pit of Hell,” implying it came from Satan. Except, Satan doesn’t dwell in Hell; Hell’s where he’s supposed to be thrown when God’s fed up with him, isn’t it? A lot of Christians’ ideas of hell and Satan often seem more based on Greek mythology than Biblical descriptions (including Satan’s appearance, and his role in torturing the unsaved in Hell, whereas Biblically he’ll be too busy being tortured himself, to do any tormenting of others).

    • http://www.madcowan.com Chris

      Hey Micah, great thoughts. I think you make a good point that, if strictly interpreted, the message is for individuals to be careful when using God’s actual name, Yahweh. Why? Because God should be honored and revered. As you mentioned, the spirit of this statement can be easily understood: honor God. Once that is accepted as the root of the commandment, we can see that it applies much more broadly than to the usage of God’s proper name.

      I also agree that “straight from the pit of Hell” is an interesting phrase, and find it funny when people seem to confuse Satan with Hades. I’m sure I’ve used that phrase, though, simply because it’s a popular figure of speech at this point.