I remember that moment so vividly.
My heart was pounding and my palms were sweating. I knew it would be wrong, but I wanted to fit in—to blend in and to be like everyone else.
I was 14, a freshman at the local public school in my hometown. I was sitting in drama class when it came my turn to read an excerpt from a play.
The lines I had been assigned to recite took God’s name in vain.
It wasn’t long and drawn out, but I knew the three words I was expected to speak were sin.
In that moment, I had a decision to make—either I was going to identify with God or was I going to curse Him.
I chose to curse God. I chose to care about what the people around me were thinking instead of what the Creator of the world thought of me.
But the reality is I had been taking God’s name in vain before I even spoke the words.
One dictionary definition of the word vain is “producing no result; useless,” and some of the synonyms for this word are “ineffective,” “fruitless” and “unproductive.”
We can take God’s name in vain with our lives. I was.
I was calling myself a Christian, which means “little Christ,” but I was trying to look like the world. I didn’t want people to know that I was different.
As far as God was concerned, my Christian life was producing no results. It was fruitless and unproductive. It was in vain.
Jesus says, “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matthew 7:20) We can call ourselves Christians, but our lives can testify of a different story.
I didn’t consciously realize it, but I was denying Christ by trying to be like the world. I wasn’t living for the kingdom of Heaven, but I was living for myself.
I wanted to be accepted. I wanted to be liked.
I wanted the benefits of being a Christian—like having the Holy Spirit and going to Heaven, but I didn’t want to count the cost.
I was taking God’s name in vain with my life. Are you?
Are we choosing not to speak up? Would we rather be known as cool or hip instead of a follower of Christ?
It is easy to pray a prayer. It is easy to post a Bible verse on a Facebook status or claim “Child of the King” on an Instagram bio.
But when it comes down to the day-to-day conversations, who are we identifying with?
Sometimes our lives can quietly slip away from God. We can stop reading our Bibles consistently and not devote any time to prayer.
We can forget our Creator in the silence of our hearts as we passively yet actively allow our hearts to walk away from Jesus. Over time, our actions will begin to look more and more like the world as our outside lives will begin to shout the silent decay of our inner being.
Gospel conversations will become scarce. God’s Word will seem dull and lifeless.
The dreams of this earthly life—the fame and fortune: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life—will become more and more attractive.
And in the blink of an eye, we could be standing before God looking back on your life—a life that is empty, useless and vain.
As Christians, we should be different. The world won’t accept us, because it didn’t accept Jesus.
“If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” (John 15:19)
Identifying with Christ comes with a cost. But the gain outweighs the pain and persecution. As Christians, we must be ready to give an answer, and we can expect the world to laugh.
We are not of this world. Our home is in Heaven. So let’s stop trying to fit in. Let’s stop trying to be liked by the people who hate our Savior.
Let’s claim Christ with our words and actions every day. Let’s not live an empty and unproductive Christian life. Jesus gave His all for us, and we should give our all to Him.
Let’s stop taking God’s name in vain with our lives.