May 10, 2017

Honoring God’s Name

Perhaps it happens here, but unlike cities in North America, we have not heard cursing in public in the city of Florence, Italy. Does that mean a greater respect for God? Not knowing the language could be the reason, but we have not seen anyone expressing anger and frustration with words, known or unknown.

In our home city, people argue and insult one another in public with cursing and even children take the name of God in vain. It is common in movies, at sporting events, and on street corners. Winners on television shows almost always say the name of God without any thought; their expressions are common-place.

This is distressful to those of us who know the commands of God, and even more to those who also have a saving relationship with Him through faith in Jesus Christ. We would not curse our dearest friends, and certainly not the One who died to forgive our sin and give us eternal life. Instead, we want to celebrate Him and His precious Name:
“I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord, forever; with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations . . . . Blessed are the people who know the festal shout, who walk, O Lord, in the light of your face, who exult in your name all the day and in your righteousness are exalted.” (Psalm 89:1; 15)
As a new Christian, I often caught myself saying things that I knew I should not say. This included the Lord’s name said out of the context of praise, worship, or prayer. It was an old habit and needed to be broken. The way to do that was not by concentrated effort, but by a deepening relationship with Jesus. The closer we became, the less I was inclined to make those verbal slips.

As my relationship with Him grows, I also notice a greater ability to control my speech in other areas, such as critical remarks about others, verbal abuse of my own self, or silly statements about anything. God may have had that in mind too when He had Moses write this command:
“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.” (Exodus 20:7)

Dearest Lord Jesus, Your name is precious. Songs have been written to declare it. My heart softens and becomes warm when I hear it. Jesus, name above all names — Jesus, the most precious name I know. Loving You restrains my tongue. Instead of cursing You, taking Your name in vain in other ways, or even thoughtlessly saying it as an expression of my emotions, I only want to use it in praise and whenever I’m having a sweet conversation with You.

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