We are image bearers. We were created that way. God placed us in this exact place and time so that we might glorify Him by bearing His image well. From Genesis to Revelation the Bible reveals the war that Satan has waged on our image-bearing responsibility, seeking to deceive us into taking control from God for our own glory.
Christian military officers carry the responsibility of officership under the commission of our Commander-in-Chief. The nation expects us to bear that identity with great responsibility. It is why every uniform we put on has the U.S. insignia in some form, and even when not in uniform, we bear the nation’s trust.
In the first three of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) God declares Himself to be the LORD our God and that we are to have no other gods before Him, that we must not make of an image or likeness of anything under heaven, and that we are not to take His name in vain. The progression is from who God is, to who His image bearer is (us!), to the statement that idols can’t be His image bearers—and because we are the image bearer, then we must bear His image in such a way that His name isn’t taken in vain. If you didn’t see a progression of thought the first time, go back and read that sequence again because I think God is intentionally pointing us to understand that men and women are to bear His image properly, and He designed nothing else under heaven to shine that image.
Quick academic pause. My Blue Letter Bible app tells me that “You shall not take” is translated from nasa’, which can range in meaning from “to lift,” “to bear,” or “to carry.” The phrase “in vain” is translated from shav’, which may mean “worthlessness of conduct,” “emptiness,” or “falsehood.”
I learned from a midweek church class that the commandment to not take God’s name in vain is a command to not bear His name worthlessly. When I heard that explanation my heart leapt. I knew that the fourth commandment had to be much deeper than avoiding foul language, but now I saw a parallel between bearing God’s name worthily and how we bear the representation of our nation.
Bearing God’s name worthily is no small command! The Ten Commandments are one of the early places to learn that the people of God are commanded to not bear His name worthlessly (in vain), or to put it in the positive, we are to bear God’s name worthily. A few chapters later in Exodus 28:12, we read that as the representative of the nation of Israel, Aaron bore (nasa) the names of the sons of Israel on the ephod. Similarly, as representatives of the United States, Christian military officers bear our nation’s insignia on our uniform. Far more importantly, we bear the name of God in all our thoughts, words, and actions.
We need much wisdom from the Holy Spirit to bear His image faithfully. As an image bearer of God, may your identity in Christ motivate you to be a worthy representative of our Father to all who see Christ in you, the hope of glory. We love you!
In hope, Hous & Tami
Leader, Draw Near podcast: Leader, Draw Near is a weekly podcast devotional for your pursuit of God. Each episode is fashioned to prompt reflection on a specific topic and ends with a few points to ponder, which are perfect for personal reflection or for use with a mentor or in a small group setting. Click here to begin the journey.
OCF Eastern Leaders Conference at WSS 24-26 January: This is an event by lay OCF leaders for lay OCF leaders that will sharpen today’s leaders and equip them to seek and train the next generation of OCF leaders. This conference will be a workshop format in which leaders from the field will bring their expertise to share how to advance the OCF Mission and Vision in practical ways. Click here for more information or to sign up.
Leading Women Retreat at WSS 27-29 March: Uniformed women, whether past, present, or future, are invited to a weekend of discussion on what leadership looks like for Christian military women. We’ll examine the tension between our passions for service and God’s purpose in our lives. Join us as we dive into the Book of James for instruction on godly living as women in the military community. For details, please contact Tami Waring at firstname.lastname@example.org.
OCF Spring Break Service and Adventure at Spring Canyon and White Sulphur Springs: This is a “missions trip” week at either of our two OCF conference centers for cadets and midshipmen to give back, have fun, and enjoy deep Christian fellowship. Service projects are designed for cadets and midshipmen to spend time with one another and with a senior mentor. Meals and lodging are provided by OCF. Work four days and get the fifth day for adventures in the local area, or work six days and receive two adventure days! Adventure may include skiing, hiking, camping, or time for reflection. RSVP by 1 March by calling or emailing the Spring Canyon office at 888-663-1417, email@example.com or the WSS office 814-623-5583, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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