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This Sunday, we will celebrate Easter. It is really the main holiday for Christians, or at least it should be.
It seems like Easter tends to get overlooked. Christmas gets all the glory. It seems like we start celebrating Christmas before we even get to Thanksgiving, and we then we carry it on until New Year’s Day. Everybody makes a big deal about Christmas, and we should make a big deal about it. But we should make a big deal about Easter, too.
Easter is every bit just as important as Christmas. Even for us, as Christians, it seems that sometimes we don’t get as excited about Easter. So we need to honor God as much at Easter as we do at Christmas.
Now, there are many ways to honor God, and there are also many reasons to honor God, but I want to focus on honoring the name of God.
When it comes to God, his name is part of the way he reveals himself to us. His name tells us about his character; it’s a revelation of his being, of his greatness. And we are called to honor his name. When God revealed himself to Moses, he told Moses, “Tell them I AM has sent you."
I love that, because what else can describe God. Anything else, other than “I AM” simply falls short of describing God. I AM is open-ended.
Only God can say I AM...The Creator…and he is but that’s not all he is.
Only God can say I AM…The sustainer…and he is but that’s not all he is.
Only God can say I AM…The provider…and he is but that’s not all he is.
Only God can say I AM…The deliverer…and he is but that’s not all he is
We could go on all night long trying to come up with names for God, but no single word fully describes God. That aspect in itself is worthy of our honor and our praise.
But even if that weren’t enough, we are commanded to honor his name. In the book of Exodus, chapter 20, verse 7, God himself tells us; “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” I’m sure many of you, like me, would have had your mouth washed out with soap if you had misused God’s name in vain when you were younger. My brothers and I, to this day, have a running joke among us that Palmolive is the best-tasting dish detergent. But this verse is really telling us more than to just avoid using God’s name in some tirade of curse words. What it is really saying is that we should honor and respect his name in everything we do.
Think about this for a moment. As Christians, we take on the name of Christ. We become the children of God, and as a child of God, as a member of the family of God, God has given us his name. Our behavior reflects upon him.
I remember as a teenager, whenever I would go out with my friends, as I ran out the door, my mom would always tell us, “Remember whose kid you are.” And she wasn’t talking about being the child of Gail and Darla Hall. What she was really saying was “remember you are part of the family of God, you belong to Jesus Christ, you are the child of the king, and you’d better behave like one. If Jesus Christ is your savior, then you belong to him, and you better live a life that honors his name.
When Tammy and I were married, she changed her name from Tammy Brewer to Tammy Hall. She took my name. That means that she was reserved for me and me alone. She is mine and I am hers. And I will not share her with anyone. Now what if she took my name, was married to me but went on to date other men. Then her taking my name would mean nothing; it would be in vain then, wouldn’t it?
Yet, that is what we do to God when we give our life to him and make him as our lord and our savior, but then we continue to live according to our old life. If we are a Christian, then we belong to him. His name is now ours, and we had better not take his name in vain.
Here’s the really awesome part, though. I didn’t have to command Tammy to take my name. She wanted to take my name. She loves me, and she wants to honor me by taking my name. When we realize who God is, and we realize who we are in him, then we will actually want to honor his name. We will want to praise him. We are actually compelled from within, to honor and praise him. When we really love God, we want to honor his name.
If you call yourself a Christian, you need to ask yourself this question: Does your life honor God? Do you live for him, not only during the Lenten season, not only at Easter, not only at Christmas, but every day of your life? Do you honor Him? Or does your life show that you have taken on his name in vain?