When you realize that God has declared his great I AM name to you in the midst of your insecurities, it should make you read the third commandment in a different light.

The third commandment is, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain” (Exodus 20:7 ESV). I was always taught this meant, “Don’t use God’s name as a cuss word: Do not say, ‘Oh my God’ or ‘Jesus Christ’” or something like that. And that is certainly true.

But this is not just a command on how to use God’s name. Look at the specific language: This is a command about how to take God’s name. Think of it like this: In time past, there was a beautiful girl named Veronica Marie McPeters, and on the greatest day of her life, she dropped the McPeters and became a Greear. When she took my name, she became part of me, one with me. All that was mine became hers (it wasn’t that much).

In the same way, when you became a Christian, you took the name of God to yourself, the name, I AM. That means that what he is, you now have.

The Apostle Peter declares that we became actual participants in the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4); the Apostle Paul proclaims us as inheritors of all the divine promises (Galatians 3:29). All the promises of God to us, he says, are “yes” in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 1:20).

And that means that when we think, “I am not _____ enough,” we are taking God’s name in vain, because even though we are not, he is, and we have become one with him. What he is, he now is for us and through us.

You say, “God, I can’t be a good parent.” He says, “I can.”

You say, “I can’t make it.” He says, “I can.”

You say, “I am full of doubt.” He says, “But I am faithful.”

You say, “God, I am so dysfunctional.” He says, “But I am so complete.”

You say, “I am deficient.” He says, “Yet I am sufficient.”

You say, “I am so sinful.” He says, “And I am so gracious.”

You say, “I am at the end of my rope!” He says, “I’ve got another one, and it’s as long as eternity.”

You see, feeling inadequate is not a hindrance to being used by God. It’s actually a prerequisite to being used by God. When God called the Apostle Paul, for instance, he was a defeated, destroyed, hot mess. To this seeming “failure,” God said, “But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you” (Acts 26:16).

God isn’t focusing on Paul’s potential. The focus of that call is on Christ and his work. The same is true of us. Like Paul, we can be confident that he who began a good work in us will complete it (Philippians 1:6).

Relying on God’s power makes the most unpromising among us into potential world-changers. I think of William Wilberforce, whose efforts brought the transatlantic slave trade to an end. But he was one of the most physically unimpressive men you’d ever imagine. He suffered from severe scoliosis (among other maladies), and one history book I read called him an “elfish, misshapen little figure.”

But Wilberforce discovered the purposes of God, stepped out on the runway, felt heaven’s wind at his back, and changed the world. He did it not by discovering his inner potential but the purposes of God to bring salvation to the world. God used a physically broken man to break the back of the slavery industry.

Some people feel like they have nothing to offer. Others, like Paul, are flat on their face! If that’s you, God’s word to you is this: “Get up! Stop looking at your limitations, and look instead at the power and faithfulness of the Christ who is calling you.”

You say, “I can’t!” He says, “I can! Follow me, and watch me do it through you.”

Christ in you, your righteous standing before God.

Christ in you, the power of new life.

Christ in you, your sufficiency in all things.

Christ in you, the hope of glory.

You’ll never be satisfied trying to fit God into the corners of your life. You were created for so much more! You were created for total surrender to God, to act as a vessel of the power of God, all for the sake of the mission of God. Stop taking God’s name in vain, and let him work through you!