Don’t Misuse God’s Name

Representing God's nameYou’ve heard the old nursery rhyme: Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. We all know this isn’t true: words do hurt, and names that people call us may leave lasting wounds.

Words and names are important to God. God used His word to create the universe (God said, “Let there by light”); Jesus was called The Word (see John 1:1); God has named people and even renamed them to reflect their character or destiny.

The most important name of all is God’s own name, so the Third Commandment says, “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God…” (Exodus 20:7). How can we misuse God’s name? There are five ways—

(1) As emptiness or nothingness

  • Are our words empty? Do we use filler phrases like “Oh my God!” that neither talk to Jehovah or about Jehovah? We shouldn’t use God’s name unless we’re talking to Him or about Him in a respectful way.

(2) In vanity

  • In reality this means calling ourselves a Christian, but speaking in an un-Christlike way.
  • “Giving God a ‘bad name’ might diminish or demolish people’s belief, respect, and awe for God, a tragedy for a world that needs holiness. … It is a major responsibility to represent God; one which should not be taken lightly.” —Dr. Laura Schlessinger

(3) Being insincere

  • Are our promises empty, or is our word our bond? If we have to use phrases like “I swear to God that I will…” then that means we cannot be trusted on our own merits. When we claim to be Christians but cannot be trusted, we undermine the trustworthiness of God in the minds of other people.
  • “The godly man, therefore, will make promises cautiously but keep them conscientiously once they are made, knowing that irresponsibility and unreliability here are great and grievous sins.” —J.I. Packer

(4) Having an unholy vocabulary

  • Holy means something set apart for a special use. Perhaps there are words we use to describe God that we are also using for lesser things. It might be good to listen to how the Holy Spirit would challenge us to have a unique vocabulary to talk to or about our unique God.

(5) Worthlessness of conduct

  • As the cliche goes, “What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you are saying.” So we need to make sure that we both talk like Jesus talked and live like Jesus lived.

Anything less than these standards just may be misusing God’s holy name and character by misrepresenting Him or giving Him a “bad name.” What do you think?

I am continuing our look at the Ten Commandments in our series The Love In The Law next Sunday. I would absolutely love it if you could join us!

Links & Quotes

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Some great reading from today…

Very thought-provoking: Can Theology Be True If It’s Self-Contradictory?

“I have never been hurt by what I have not said.” —Calvin Coolidge

“Do you see what God is saying here? ‘If you really want to walk in the Spirit—if you really want My anointing—you need to seek more than direction from Me. You need to come into My presence and get to know My heart, My desires! You see, I want to anoint you—to use you in My kingdom!’” —David Wilkerson

“Where adequate power is present almost any means will suffice, but where the power is absent not all the means in the world can secure the desired end. The Spirit of God may use a song, a sermon, a good deed, a text or the mystery and majesty of nature, but always the final work will be done by the pressure of the inliving Spirit upon the human heart.” —A.W. Tozer

Melinda Penner points out how the Hobby Lobby case has shown how our rights have shifted.

For my pastor friends (and for those who want to bless their pastor:: The Burden Of The Pastor.

Links & Quotes

link quoteSome cool reading I came across today.

“We simply can’t change ourselves. Only the Spirit of God can conform us to the glorious image of Christ.” —David Wilkerson

Oh, that today my clothes may be vestments, my meals sacraments, my house a temple, my table an alter, my speech incense, and myself a priest!” —Charles Spurgeon

I like this: 8 Things Healthy Couples Don’t Do.

“Sound biblical and theological learning is useful for building the church when it is delivered with patience and gentleness by a loving shepherd.” —T.M. Moore

Links & Quotes

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These are links to articles and quotes I found interesting today.

Truth! What Gossip Actually Does

“How little people know who think that holiness is dull. When one meets the real thing, it is irresistible.” —C.S. Lewis

“The difference in winning and losing is most often not quitting.” —Walt Disney

A son shows his sick mother some love: A Message Of Love In The Snow

Max Lucado on what angers Jesus: Hucksters And Faith Peddlers

Researchers question the long-term effectiveness of ADHD medicines: The Smart-Pill Oversell

An interview with Alvin Plantinga: Is Atheism Irrational?

[VIDEO] A great TobyMac song with a great message: Speak Life

No Apologies Needed

Jesus

Jesus spoke.
A lot.
In fact,
He’s called the Word.
He told stories,
He quoted Scripture,
He used nursery rhymes.
He laughed,
He cried,
He thundered.
He spoke to the religious,
And the irreligious;
To Jews,
To Gentiles,
To Samaritans.
His words excited,
And angered,
Healed,
And restored.
But…
Not once did He misspeak,
Or stumble,
Or apologize.
How could He do this?
“I did not speak of My own accord,
But the Father who sent Me
Commanded Me what to say
And how to say it …
So whatever I say
Is just what the Father
Has told me to say” (John 12:49, 50)
You and I can speak like this too:
No apologies needed.

Building Or Tripping

Building or trippingOne of the things I love about Peter, the disciple of Jesus, is the great opportunities he gave for Jesus to teach us!

Peter said something brilliant when Jesus asked, “Who do you say I am?” Peter quickly responded, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!”

Now catch Jesus’ reply to Peter: “This was not revealed to you by man, but by My Father in Heaven” (Matthew 16:17).

When I have my mind open to the things of God, the words I use are rock solid: “On this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hades will not overcome it” (verse 18).

But just a couple of verses later, Peter’s heavenly insight vanishes. Jesus told him “you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men” (v. 23). Jesus went even further to say that Peter’s words were a “stumbling block” to Him.

Did you notice the contrast? My Father spoke to your mind versus You aren’t listening to God but to man.

The difference is in my agenda: I can either try to “gain the whole world” for myself (v. 26), or I can “deny [myself] and take up [my] cross” to follow Jesus (v. 24).

Following God’s agenda = a solid foundation. 

Following my agenda = a stumbling block to the work of Christ. 

It’s my choice. And your choice too.

Careless Words

Careless words“But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.” —Jesus Christ

The King James Version uses the phrase idle words, which is a rather apt description. The root Greek word is the picture of a worker, but the prefix “a” with it means that the worker is either lazy or unemployed. Not only that but he couldn’t care less (“careless”) about his unemployed, unproductive state.

It’s lazy to use whatever word comes to mind, especially if it’s not the right word. 

It takes hard work to say the right word at the right time. 

It requires great care to leave the wrong word unspoken.

Just prior to the above quote from Jesus, His critics had just thrown out the line, “He casts out demons through the power of the devil.” They didn’t think about what they were saying, so Jesus said, “If you had thought that through before you said it, you would have realized that it makes no sense. That was an idle, unproductive, lazy thing to say.” In the meantime, who knows how many people heard that throw-away line and then turned away from Jesus.

Words have consequences. Idle, careless words may have eternal consequences. I’ll have to stand before God to explain my careless words some day.

And so will you.

Speak Life

tobymacI love the message behind tobyMac’s song Speak Life. Our words really do have an impact on people. The writer of Proverbs said it this way—

The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. (Probers 18:21)

In tobyMac’s song, the lyrics echo God’s Word—

Though it’s crazy, amazing

We can turn our hearts with the words we say

Mountains crumble with every syllable

Hope can live or die…

Well it crazy to imagine

Words from our lips as the arms of compassion

Mountains crumble with every syllable

Hope can live or die

Check this out…

And if you’d like to hear Toby’s inspiration for this song, check on this clip…

So We Become

The thought manifests the word;

The word manifests the deed;

The deed develops into habit;

And habit hardens into character.

So watch the thought and its ways with care,

And let them spring forth from love

Born out of compassion for all beings.

As the shadow follows the body, as we think,

So we become. —Juan Mascaro

Blessing Of Becoming

“When our Lord looked at us, He saw not only what we were — He was faithful in seeing what we could become! He took away the curse of being and gave us the glorious blessing of becoming.” — A.W. Tozer

The word blessing in the Greek is a compound word made up of good + words. Just as Jesus blessed us — said the good word that He prepared us for something more than a life enslaved to sin — shouldn’t we too say good words to others about what they could become?

There is ZERO excuse for anyone who calls themselves a Christian to ever say anything but good words to others. If God only says good words to you and about you, how much more so should Christians be speaking good words to and about others!

Jesus took away the curse of being trapped as we were, and gave us the blessing of becoming who He truly intends for us to be. Let’s do the same thing for other people.

Make a covenant: I will only use my words to bless others; that is, I will only say good words to them and about them. I will speak only those words that tell them about the masterpiece that they are.

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