Loyalty is remaining committed to those whom God has brought into our lives and has called us to serve, even in times of difficulty. It is developing allegiance and respect in one another, and not seeking to manipulate the other person. Being loyal exhibits our commitment to Christ by our commitment–with discernment–to people and righteous causes at all times (Proverbs 17:17; Ecclesiastes 8:2-4; John 15:13; Romans 13:1-5; Titus 3:1).
The word loyalty brings to mind a powerful sense of belonging and solidarity. With it comes the idea of wholehearted fidelity coupled with unswerving devotion and duty. In the Bible, the concept of loyalty is purely relational. This means our whole being is thoroughly committed to someone (Joshua 24:15). Such loyalty is expressed to us in both the divine and human realms as given to us in the first two commandments: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength,” and “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:29-31; cf. John 15:13; 1 John 3:16).
God established the very essence of loyalty through His covenant relationship with His people: “Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who maintains covenant loyalty with those who love Him and keep His commandments, to a thousand generations” (Deuteronomy 7:9). Through His covenant, God’s people are assured of His never-ending love from which no believer can ever be separated (Romans 8:35-39). God is promising His loyalty and commitment to us. Although God’s covenants with man are unilateral—He promises to fulfill them by Himself—there is still an admonition to loyalty on man’s part. For God has made it clear that “if you ever forget the LORD your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed” (Deuteronomy 8:19). Those who prove to be disloyal are those who prove they do not belong to Him (1 John 3:24). But for believers, we have the promise that even “if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself” (2 Timothy 2:13).
In our relationships with one another, we are called to steadfast loyalty. Paul speaks of his “loyal companion” in Philippians 4:3. This unknown person is possibly Titus or Silas, but whoever it was, he was one who labored faithfully with Paul. Then there’s Ruth, the very embodiment of loyalty as demonstrated in her complete devotion and duty to her mother-in-law: “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God” (Ruth 1:16).
Loyalty is like faith; it means assurance of another. In ancient times, the two words had the same meaning, and referred to one’s loyalty to a person, or trustworthiness to a promise they had made. The person receiving the promise was acting on faith and trusting in that person, and that is what loyalty is mainly about. But, loyalty has another facet to it. It is also a call that we involve other characters into, such as, forgiveness, mercy, and respect. We are to realize this with people, even when it is underserved and unearned. It is also the knowledge that people with whom we place our loyalty will disappoint us. However, we cannot base our character and self image in their reaction, only in who Christ is. Our outlook on life and reaction to people needs to be rooted in God, not on how those people respond to us. We are not responsible for how people treat us; we are only responsible for treating them with utmost character, as a reflection of Christ. Hence, the word Christian is being “Christ like,” not “self like.”
For true believers, loyalty is shown in our commitment to Jesus and His gospel (Mark 8:35; Romans 1:16). It is the acknowledgement that Jesus Christ is our sole source of authority and salvation (Matthew 28:18; John 14:6). Such devotion and commitment should echo the attitude of the apostle Peter, who said, “If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 4:11).
As Jesus’ disciples, we demonstrate our loyalty and self-sacrificing allegiance to Him by following His command: “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me” (Mark 8:34). But even when we fail to be completely loyal and steadfast to Him, we have His assurance that He will be loyal to us: “And surely I am with you always, even to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20b).
Is the Character of Loyalty working in you?
Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Loyalty from God’s most precious Word, by examining the passages below.
Here are positive examples from Scripture (2 Samuel 3:6-21; Esther 8:1-2; John 11:16; 20:8; Hebrews 11:24-26)
Here are negative examples from Scripture (1 Samuel 15:11; 1 Kings 18:18-19; John 6:66; 2 Peter 2:10;15)
Now ask yourself:
1. How do I exhibit Loyalty in my daily life?
2. What can I do to develop a better willingness to be Loyal and maintain a commitment to God and to people?
3. What blocks Loyalty from working and being exhibited in me?
4. How can I make Loyalty function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress?