Exodus 20:7 “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” This is the Third Commandment.
Common thought associates this command only with showing external, visible and audible respect for God and His name. This is true, but how much more spiritually deep is this command! Webster’s definition of the word “vain” is multifaceted. Here are some applicable meanings from Webster’s 1828 Dictionary of American English: “Vain: 1. Empty; worthless, having no substance, value or importance. Fruitless; ineffectual. Empty; unreal; unsatisfying. False; deceitful, not genuine; to no purpose; without effect.” Lastly, Webster reminds us that to use the name of God in vain includes using the name “in levity or profaneness”, the understanding which is most commonly considered when rehearsing the meaning of the Third Commandment.
We must, if we would mentally advance heavenward, continually examine every aspect of our own lives to ensure that we are not taking a sense of God in vain in any aspect of the definition of the word. For example, do we ever feel that nothing is happening in our life which has cause in God, or that our prayers to God are ineffectual? Do we feel or fear that we might never see the fruits of our prayer? Do we ever succumb to the temptation to believe that God is not available to us, or is external to us, or far away? Are we tempted to believe that maybe there is no God, and that we are wasting our time with prayer? This would be the carnal man speaking. All of these feelings are the suggestions of evil, which would suggest to us that we revolve in a sphere of our own called mortality, sometimes separated from, and not always subject to the divine laws of perfection, which are in truth continuously expressed by the action of the one Mind which is God, of whom we are each the exact and perfect spiritual image and likeness.
Every time we allow any suggestion to take root in our thought which would deny or disregard the omnipotence of God, we are actually taking the name of the Lord in vain, and hence unintentionally honoring evil. Every time we accept as reality that which denies the goodness and ALLNESS of God, we are in truth taking the name of the Lord in vain. Whatever we experience in human life must be mentally examined to ensure that it does not preclude God’s omnipotence. Each time we allow any thought to enter our consciousness which is contrary to God’s nature, we are actually unwittingly taking the Lord’s name in vain. Sickness, disease, strife, envy, war, poverty, lack, death, indifferent attitudes, procrastination, hatred, – whatever supposed things we can imagine which include any characteristics contrary to God’s nature – can only be the lies of evil, and hence must be mentally regarded as without real power or substantiality. However, under the mesmeric influence of evil, we falsely submit ourselves as subjects to this truly invalid power. That which is unlike God has no source in God, and has therefore no valid abiding place, nor valid entity. God is infinite and self contained goodness. Nothing but His goodness even exists! Therefore evil exists only in a mental vacuum which would claim to reside outside of the ALL comprising God. Outside of God existence is not possible, for there are no empty vacuums within the infinite realm of completeness.
We possess and can learn to exercise God-granted and sovereign power over all forms of sin, sickness, disease, and even death, through the understanding that our ALLNESS is in God’s principled Love and protection. Christian Science affords and offers the proof of over a century and a half of proven and documented victories over multitudinous claims of evil – sickness, disease, sin, death, healed. To do less than to grant all recognition of ALL power to God, goodness, is to mistakenly take the name of the Lord in vain. It is to mistakenly name and treat God as interruptible, sometimes powerless, unimportant, ineffectual, fruitless, subject to outside influence, or unable to help us in our human problems; to take His name in vain. These are exactly the results which evil would desire to see brought forth! Let us rise in rebellion to evil’s claims to power by exercising and deepening our grasp of the divine Principle which bases the Third Commandment! (as well as the other nine!).