Taking the Lord’s Name

By Jacob Waddle

Ephesians 5:31 For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.

According to the Bible, when a couple gets married, they stop being independent individuals, but rather, come together to create a family, correct?  So, in a sense, a man establishes a new covenant with his bride and God, vowing to put God and her before all others.  He has also committed to love, provide, and protect her and the children that may come from their unity.  From the same covenant, a woman establishes to love and respect her husband and to put God and him before all others and care for the children that may come from their unity.  This covenant between God with the new husband and wife is sealed with vows, and traditionally, the wife will then take the sur name of her new husband. Together, at that moment during the wedding ceremony, they establish that they have forsaken their old lives, and with God, formed a new family unit, starting a new life together.  They have now become one. They represent each other and to make an outward declaration where they take on the family name as their own.  In a sense, when the wife takes the name of her husband, she has now publicly made claim that they are together.  That she now represents him, as much as he now represents her. 

Do we look at our relationship with Jesus the same way?  When we take His name as a Christian, do we share that same understanding that we now represent Jesus, as much as He represents us?  This is not a relationship or covenant to be taken lightly.  To call yourself a Christian, is to become the bridegroom of Christ, and just like in marriage, become one and take on His name.  Exodus 20:7 says, “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold guiltless anyone who takes his name in vain.” NKJV.  Earlier in Ephesians 5:25-27, this relationship is clearly stated, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that He might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.”  As Christians, are we representing Christ as well, if not better, than we would expect our spouses to represent us?  Have we taken on Christ’s name and made that covenant connection with Him, or do we sometimes take that name “Christian” in vain? Are we being obedient or submitting to the will of God the way that the Bible proclaims we should, when we are in covenant relationship with Christ as our bridegroom? “Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.” Ephesians 5:24.

Let me give you a more personal example.  I have been part of God’s family for almost 20 years now, and I took on the name “Christian,” when I accepted Christ in my life.  I also started my own family 14 years ago when I got married.  Naturally, I have not always been the best representative of my family, the ones that share my earthly name.  At times I have lacked grace, compassion and empathy while conversing with others on difficult topics.  And even more alarming, an important name that I did not represent well during these discussions, is the name of Christian. 

I haven’t intended to take the Lord’s name in vain, but as I have grown in my faith, I can look back and see that there are certainly times where I have not represented Him well.  This is a serious thing and God is working on me.  I need to be willing to be held to a higher standard.  What about you? 

What are your thoughts on the commandment about taking the Lord’s name in vain?

When did you begin calling yourself a Christian?

Have you ever thought about how becoming a Christian means entering into a covenant relationship with Christ, much like the commitment between a husband and wife?

Do you feel like you may have made that commitment in vain or with a lack of understanding?

If you’re not already, are you ready to make that commitment and be baptized as a symbol of that commitment?  Or if you have already been baptized, to recommit with a better understanding?

Prayer: Lord, we come before you and confess that we have all fallen short, and are in no way deserving of Your glory.  Through Your sacrifice and grace though, we accept the gift of redemption and love You have given us.  We pray that we can honor You in our thought’s, words and deeds today.  We pray that as we evaluate our relationship with You and understand that we represent You as Christians, that we are able to bring honor to Your name and avoid bringing shame upon You. We ask that You open our hearts to hear from You today and every day.  To give us that passion to live for You.  That praises and not curses come from our mouths. 

We pray for those we know who struggle with their relationship with you, will come to accept You and take on Your name, not in vain, but with thanksgiving and praise. 

We thank You and praise You for everything You have done and will continue to do in our lives.  May You use us as You see fit, to bring forth Your kingdom.  In all glory and honor, we praise You, and Your holy Name.  Amen

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