A vegan went to a party. As he mingled with his peers, he began to inform everyone that he was a vegan. His social circle began to thin and he thought it was time to get some snacks.
He approached the buffet table and gave the food a once-over. Suddenly his eyes locked onto his desired food: bacon-wrapped cocktail weenies. He piled them high on his plate and found a place to sit.
As he ate, piece after piece, the other guests began to whisper. Didn’t he tell us he was a vegan? Why is he eating meat?
After a few minutes, one brave soul mustered up the courage to approach the vegan.
“Excuse me,” he said, “but didn’t you say you’re a vegan?”
“Yes I am! I’m glad you noticed.” the vegan replied cheerfully.
“You do know that you’re eating meat, right?” asked the confused party guest.
“Well, yeah. I’m a vegan, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think a vegan has to only eat vegetables. I’m not legalistic after all.”
The attitude of the vegan in our parable is one of many Christians - while they claim to love God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength, the lives they live are anything but reflecting Him.
How many Christians, under the guise of avoiding legalism, don’t pray, read their Bible or even attend church? No, none of these things save you, but it does bring up questions if you have no desire to know God more.
The third commandment given to Moses was to not take the Lord’s name in vain. Many think that as long as they aren’t verbally saying, “Oh my god” that they are in the clear. However, this commandment is far greater than simply what we say.
Taking the Lord’s name in vain means not representing Him in a way that accurately reflects His character. As Paul writes (2 Cor. 5:20), “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. If we are indulging in sinful behaviors and refusing to put sin to death, we are taking the Lord’s name in vain.
James is very clear, faith without works is dead (James 2:17). He doubles down in verse 26, “For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.”
We are not saved by our works, but for those who understand what has been done for them through Christ, works should be a natural outflow of that.
This does not mean that we do not struggle. Struggling is a good sign, it means that you are not content to sit in your sin. Struggling to get up early to read your Bible is far better than the person whose conscience is not poked by neglecting to read it.
If you are going to claim the name of Christ, represent Him well.