In considering the thought of what it means to take the name of God in vain, I do not think it quite means what I first thought. It has always been said, especially of my mother, especially when I would seemingly call out to God due to some frustration or surprise, that I should refrain from taking God’s name in vain. When such an occasion occurred, I was confronted with her sweet, maternal rhetoric: ‘What, are you praying?’ I had never quite understood the meaning of this question until Christianity became quite serious to me, but that is not the point of discussion here. The point of discussion is that my mother seemed to think ‘God’, ‘Jesus’, and ‘Christ’, or any combination of these names was a type of curse word, or at the very least, that I was using them as such. And perhaps I was; but when and why else should someone call out to God save by being frustrated or surprised? Perhaps I was not using the name in the most reverent way; but it always seemed like Christians were becoming like Jews in their selective muteness.
It seems, though, more likely, that the application of such an important commandment is not altogether forsaking the usage of the name in arbitrary circumstances, but to not waste the name of Christ, or Christianity. There are many who claim to know God; bear His name; know His plans, purposes, and will; but they are the furthest thing from being known by God Himself. There are others, still, who are genuine but rather timid; ramped up, but, at times, weak. They have raised the name of God over their home or personage, but they have not taken the calling very seriously.
If, then, a man (or woman or child) wishes to take the name of Christ; that is, be a Christian, he must be willing to be fully committed. His claim to the name of Christ ought not be in vain. He has taken on a new job, duty, and eternal responsibility. As Christ Himself has said, having grown wary of the large crowds, and doubtful of their authenticity, ‘Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.’