Daily Devotional for Friday March 15, 2013
The Importance of Loyalty
(Hebrews 13:5, 1 Samuel 22:14)
***ASK BILL: Pastor Bill, what is considered gossiping?
ANSWER: Gossiping is speaking about other people when they are not present. I have always maintained that if you are going to talk about what other people have said or done that you don't agree with, you should go to the person. For the record, there is not ONE person I have ever spoken of or used as an example in the Daily Devotional that I have not first reached out to. While I maintain a ridiculous schedule, I have always made myself accessible to anyone. I understand people in the entertainment world put up walls so people can't have access them. Sadly, I have found most high- profile preachers have insulated themselves so people CAN'T speak to them, and when contacted through phone messages, emails, or letters, they are too important to even respond.
One of the observations I've made over these past 55 years of life, is that loyalty has become a very rare commodity. Growing up, I was taught that being loyal was an important part of who you were as a person. Just like I was taught to always tell the truth, to help others, to be kind, being loyal was an important element in making up the fabric of a person's character.
The longer I live, the more I see loyalty missing in the character make-up of most people. Today, being loyal is not a component of who most people are. This has become a contributing factor to the breakdown of our society, but even more important, the breakdown in the lives of many who claim to know Jesus.
A great example of loyalty from God's Word is David's loyalty to King Saul, even when Saul was trying to kill him! Now that my friend is a tremendous test of your loyalty to someone. Will you still honor them, be loyal to them, even if they are trying to kill you? Sadly, this type of loyalty is very rare in today's world.
Men and women who are in relationships are no longer loyal to their boyfriend, girlfriend or other friends. They think nothing of cheating on someone they are in a committed relationship with. Sadly, this mentality carries over into marriage which is why you have husbands and wives without conscience committing adultery, not even thinking about or caring about the consequences of their sin and how many lives it will hurt and even destroy.
Because so many children grow up today in a variety of living arrangements, many in blended families, there is not even loyalty to those in your own family any longer. These children grow up without ever being taught the importance of loyalty and sadly have parents and step-parents who model behavior that demonstrates no loyalty to anyone. So it is no wonder why these children grow up never learning how to be loyal, even to those in their own family.
Of course, if people aren't loyal to their boyfriend, girlfriend or friends, to their spouse who they vowed loyalty to before each other and God for life, to their own family, it is no wonder why employees are no longer loyal to their employer, and likewise, employers are no longer loyal to their employees. 40 years ago a person would have 2-3 jobs in their lifetime. Now, they are likely to have 2-3 jobs before they get out of college and dozens more throughout their working life.
The real danger is, this lack of loyalty that exists in most people also carries over into their faith. I mean if you think about it, it only makes sense. If you aren't loyal to anyone in your earthly relationships, how can you expect to be loyal to the Lord in your spiritual relationship? Just like a person can without conscience go out and cheat on their wife, or betray a brother, or scheme against an employer or employee, that same person who has accepted Christ can turn their back on Him and willingly sin and live in rebellion to God's Word!
Listen to me carefully. If you aren't loyal to someone you are in a committed relationship with as a boyfriend or girlfriend or as a friend, if you aren't loyal to your spouse who you vowed loyalty to for life to, if you aren't loyal to your own flesh and blood, if you aren't loyal to the place you earn your living or the people who help you earn your living, WHY DO YOU THINK YOU WILL BE LOYAL TO JESUS???
Our failure in being loyal really boils down to one thing.....selfishness! We put ourselves above everyone else, including Jesus! The reason a person cheats on their boyfriend or girlfriend is that they are selfish. The reason a person cheats on their spouse is that they are selfish. The reason a person is not loyal to those in their family is that they are selfish. The reason a person is not loyal to their employer or employee is that they are selfish. The reason a person is not loyal to the Lord is that they are selfish. We aren't loyal because we are selfish!
Loyalty requires a commitment to someone or something other than ourselves. It often costs to be loyal. We want the benefits of a relationship, a marriage, having a family, our job, knowing Jesus, but we don't want to pay the price of having that relationship, being married, being part of a family, having a job, or our faith in Christ. We all can be loyal when things are going good, but the true test of loyalty is during times of trouble.
The disciples of Jesus were all loyal when great crowds came to hear Him preach, when He was sharing His wisdom, when He was healing people and raising the dead. But where were they when the Romans came to take him in the Garden of Gethsemane? Nowhere to be found. Running away in fear for their lives. Denying they even knew who He was.
I love you and care about you so much. My word for you today is simple. BE LOYAL! It is a lost human characteristic in most people's lives in the year 2013, but one that every follower of Jesus MUST HAVE! Being loyal is part of what being a follower of Christ is all about. We are to be loyal to the Lord and to our faith. The fact is, if we are loyal to the Lord then we will be loyal in other areas of our life as well. In our relationships, in our marriage, to our family, to our employer or employees.
I will be praying for you that God will open your heart to really hear these words today. I pray that you will do an assessment of your life and how loyal you are to your friends, to a boyfriend or girlfriend, to your spouse, to your family, to your employer or employees. Ask yourself if you are really a loyal person in your earthly relationships.
Finally, assess how loyal you are to Jesus and to your faith. Do you do your best each day to live in obedience to Christ and to His Word? As a follower of Jesus, are you loyal to Him even when things aren't going so well in your life? It is easy to be loyal when the blessings are flowing, but what about when you are in the midst of some major battles? Despite the challenges you face are you still loyal to the Lord?
When I think of Jesus, I think of loyalty. Jesus promised that He would never leave us nor forsake us. Even when we turn our back on Him, Jesus is still there, loving us, watching over us, caring for us. That my friend is what being loyal is all about. May we follow the example of our Lord and be loyal in our life to others and to Him, as He is loyal to us!!!
In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ, Bill Keller