The Third Commandment
“Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain”
Question: What does taking God’s name “in vain” mean?
Answer: Vain describes something that is worthless, empty, hollow, unsuccessful. If we do something “in vain,” our actions would be a waste of effort. If we find ourselves speaking God’s name in a way that is disrespectful to God, such as when someone curses or swears, we are
using His name “in vain.”
If we try to use God’s name, or words about Him, to cover up evil or impure thoughts in our heart, we are taking His name “in vain.” If we promise to do something in “God’s name,” and then we break that promise, we are taking His name “in vain.” In order to be obedient to this commandment, we should habitually express God-like qualities, such as honesty and trustworthiness, before we speak or preach to others about God.
“Simply asking that we may love God will never make us love Him; but the longing to be better and holier, expressed in daily watchfulness and in striving to assimilate more of the divine character, will mould and fashion us anew, until we awake in His likeness. We reach the Science of Christianity through demonstration of the divine nature; but in this wicked world goodness will ‘be evil spoken of,’ and patience must bring experience.” (S&H 4)
Practice: “Demonstration of the divine nature” means to use in your daily life the spiritual qualities and ideas that God gives you. We don’t just sit around and think about them — we do them! Today, practice expressing the quality of joy. See if you can get others to smile!
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(Excerpted from “First Lessons in Christian Science, Volume One: The Ten Commandments” Copyright 2001)
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