(The concepts in this blog post are inspired by a sermon I heard this weekend. All wording, however, is original to me.)
“Thought of changin’ my name”
“Oh, what’s in a name?”
– Hakuna Matata, from The Lion King (Disney)
We’ve probably all heard this classic song from the even more classic Disney animated movie, The Lion King. In all seriousness though, names can be very important. We often name children because we like the meaning their name represents. We may name them in such a way as to assign the qualities we want to see in them as they grow up.
God’s name is powerful and unique. He has given it to us in order to demonstrate His character to us, and to establish the fat that He is both mighty & sovereign and personal. He doesn’t need us, as He is Himself complete, yet He wants a relationship with us as individuals. HE desires to give us a perfect example of righteousness – we don’t have to put on a show of perfection in order to earn His favor. He is not dependent on us, but we are eternally dependent upon Him. This understanding of God should bring us joy, peace, and comfort – especially because He allows us to also carry His name, as His followers. It is an honor and a privilege to have His name associated with us!
We are to reverence both the name of God the Father and that of His Son, Jesus Christ – “the (only) Name by which we may be saved.” (Acts 4:12) The Sacred Name of God should be precious to us because of the significance of what it represents. It calls to mind God’s almighty power and the incredible sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross for our sin.
It also makes us aware of the way we represent Him to others, as they think of us as “Christ followers” – what do they see in us? Does it point them to the mercy and grace we have found in Jesus Christ? Does it not show how much we have been forgiven by our Father? We can be free to carry the name of the Lord as we walk in humble obedience to Him.
Are we thoughtless in the way we carry His name? Trying to use God to manipulate a situation, intentionally going against His commands but pretending that it’s obedient because we “mean well,” and/or using God to make a profit, are all ways that we can take His name in vain. Trivializing God’s name can also be dishonoring to Him. This can be done in a variety of ways, including profiting from cheesy T-shirts, etc. that are irreverent in their expression of the Holy name of God. Texting or verbally using His name simply to express surprise, etc. is to use it in a way it was not intended, as is living one way, yet claiming to follow God’s commands.
We cannot allow our failures in these areas to bring us down, but we can, rather, ask that the Lord give us a tender heart, that we might rightly honor Him in both our words and actions. Our God forgives, if we come before Him in humble repentance.