Don’t use God’s name for unnecessary earthly reasons

We are to take God’s name seriously. Last time, we talked about one of the most obvious ways people misuse God’s name, and that is when they use it as an expression of profanity or irritation.

Indulgence is another way people misuse God’s name. This is when we attempt to excuse ourselves and blame God for something we have done. We say things like, “God didn’t want me to clean the house today” or “I didn’t feel led to get out of bed.”

God gets blamed for so much that He had nothing to do with, but God does speak and He does guide us if we are open. We need to be careful about using God as a cover to indulge ourselves.

Some people use God’s name to manipulate or intimidate. They say things like, “God told me what you should do,” “God told me what’s wrong with you” or “God told me you would loan me the money.”

Parents also can fall into this temptation. They’re tired and frustrated. They’ve tried everything and nothing seems to be working with their kids, from restrictions to withholding the allowance to other forms of discipline. Finally, they pull out the big stick and say, “God is going to get you. God is not pleased with you. You really disappointed Him this time.” Be very careful about using God’s name to intimidate.

Others use God’s name to impress. Insecure believers do this a lot. They often try to prove how spiritual they are by their spiritual jargon. They constantly bombard you with a continuous stream of religious phrases and spiritual clichés.

These people must feel like the more they use the name Jesus in a sentence, the more spiritual they must be. “Bless God, that was a great sermon, Hallelujah, Glory to God, thank you Jesus…” Be careful about trying to turn God’s name into a cliché.

Another way we misuse God’s name is when we use God’s name as an impulse. There is an expression that is so commonplace in today’s culture that few people give it much thought. It is a very common figure of speech.

We hear it every day: “Oh my God!” Isn’t that expression taking God’s name in vain? Be careful about using God’s name as an expression of fear, anger, joy, amazement or surprise. That kind of language is not God-honoring, and it certainly does not reveal the proper level of respect that is consistent with commandment No. 3.

You may read Steve Greene’s blog at pastorgreene.wordpress.com or you can email him at steve@gotothepoint.com.