Today I am writing from Wales, where I am blessed to be with good friends of many years. Sometimes the best days are the simple days of lasting friendship. Thanks to Graham and Chris for your long-lasting love. Thanks to John and Margaret for many years of covenant life!
I want to continue today on the topic of honor in the culture of a Christ-life community. I have addressed the love of God and our worship that expresses our love for Him. Beyond the value of worship, God inspires us to be empowered by a value of His will. His will has to do with the purpose of His name and our purpose with Him as a testimony of His name.
Exodus 20:7 “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. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain…”
What does it mean to not take the Lord’s name in vain? When we know who He is, we know that He gives us salvation and He gives us the freedom of Life. We know that He is the first and He is the best. We cannot help but love Him, when we experience the truth of His love to us! Worshipping Him inspires us to know who we are because of Him. When we know who we are, we live as an expression of Him. All that we are is a testimony of Him. What we say, how we act, what we do – these are all expressions of Him. Jesus instructed us to seek a face-to-face intimacy with God as our Father in heaven.
Matthew 6:9-10 In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name (Holy is Your Name). Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Where is heaven? Heaven is inside of our hearts. The kingdom of heaven is within us. It comes through our hearts.
Luke 17:20-21 Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”
When we pray to ‘Our Father in heaven’; and for His kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, we are calling His testimony from within us. There is no such thing as God’s world and our world. It is all His world. Jesus came to reestablish His name so we will no longer take it in vain. His kingdom is a testimony of His character, nature, way, power, and authority manifest in all that we are and do. When we speak bad of ourselves or others we are speaking bad of Him. When I speak bad of myself, I speak bad of you; and when I speak bad of you, I speak bad of me. I don’t have my kingdom and you yours. It is our kingdom and our kingdom is His kingdom. He doesn’t want to tell us what to do or how to act. He doesn’t want to train us like parrots to simply say what He wants us to say or do what He tells us to do. He wants us to be like Him, because we are of Him. He is our Father and we are His children! His name is our family name! He wants us to know that we are His praise! We are the excellence of His name in all that we are and do. Praising God is not using the words, as we often say, ‘Praise God’. True praise is becoming the excellence of us for His glory. We are not just the worship of God; we are His purpose in the earth. We are His word. We are His name. We are His inheritance. We must not take it in vain. We must not forget who we are. We must never do something out of the character of God and blame Him. He is a covenant keeper so we must never break covenant and then tell people He told us to do it. We cannot do something that is not true to His character and then blame a voice that motivates our attitude or actions to exhibit something contrary to the way He is as something inspired by God.
When believers do something that is not true to God’s character they will often hear a voice and be convinced that it is God, but expressions of God are true to the character of who God is. We cannot ask illegitimate questions and expect to get legitimate answers. If we ask God a question that is not true to the character of who He is, we will hear an illegitimate answer. Illegitimate questions sound like: God, do you want me to be unfaithful? God, do you want me to let a hater of the brothers into my house? God, do you want me to break covenant? Sometimes the questions are cloaked in a more deceptive way, but these kind of questions are not questions that can be asked. They are not questions to ask, because they are not questions God will answer. When we ask these kind of questions we will hear a voice, we will believe that we are justified, we will believe we are right and they are wrong, we will believe that we deserve a break from our commitments and connections in some way. The thought process in the answers we position ourselves to hear sounds like: They’re not meeting my needs anyway.
What is God doing? These kind of questions present the truth that we are willing to take God’s name in vain.
If we are willing to do something that is not true to the character of God we must be willing to compromise, because we have asked an illegitimate question. If we ask God something that He has already forbidden in his word it is an illegitimate question and we will receive an illegitimate answer. When we know who God is and when we know who we are, we will act according to the greatness of our family name!
Ted J. Hanson