Character Trait No. 35
Definition: Confirming my commitment to a person or cause in time of adversity
Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Every government needs power to enforce its will upon the people whom it governs. (Good government derives this power from the people it governs, and is limited by a constitution that is based on God’s laws). God’s government is no exception. Without armed forces to protect and project its will, the kingdom of God would be powerless, weak and ineffectual. The entire church is actually one mighty army, like the Swiss nation, where every able-bodied man had an automatic weapon, and was a trained soldier in her citizen army. All Christians, both male and female alike, together make up a resurrected army of God.
Traitors are hated in every country, and executed for their treasonous acts against their nation’s security. Consider the poignant words from Shakespeare’s play, “Julius Caesar”, as the young Roman leader is being stabbed by the angry Senators, and his friend, Brutus also thrusts his dagger into his bloody body: “Et tu, Brutus?” (“And you also, Brutus?”) The very picture of treason!
Even more well known than the words of the dying Caesar are Jesus words to his betrayer, Judas Iscariot: “Thou betrayest me with a kiss?”(Lk. 22:48 - KJV) There’s something very repugnant and disquieting in such a twisted use of so intimate a greeting. Kisses are for babies and loved ones, not for cold-bloodedly delivering up a friend to death!
Unfortunately, loyalty is not a common trait among Adam’s sons. “Every man has his price”, goes the cynical saying. Too often this is true. Put enough pressure on most men and they’ll “jump ship” or declare mutiny nearly every time. Rebellion runs quietly in fallen man’s veins waiting to quickly reveal itself in troubled times. Backstabbing, with a smile, is a well-developed art in politics, business and religion. Civilized man doesn’t smash with clubs, (at least at first), but uses secret memos and malicious faxes, damaging credibility and undermining loyal support.
In this situation comes Sir Loyalty, standing brave and tall on the castle ramparts of Christ’s royal church, ready to defend the defenseless and uphold the good name of King Jesus. His comrades find him a tried and true veteran of many a spiritual battle. His unflagging devotion to duty never wavers until each battle is done and won. He stands on principle and cannot be bought by any price. “Sir”Paul exemplifies such loyalty with these brave words:
“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of the Lord, or of me His prisoner; but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God...For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard (his spirit) what I have entrusted to Him until that day.” II Tim. 1:8,12 Please note that these words were spoken while in Paul was in prison, probable death awaiting him. This was not cheap talk.
For an Old Testament example of such loyalists, consider David’s mighty, loyal men, Joab, Jashobeam, and Eleazar, when they broke through the Philistine lines in order to fulfill his wish for a drink from the well at Bethlehem. (He refused it, since they had risked their lives.) I Chr.11:16-19
Such loyal men form the backbone of any great army, and in God’s mighty army each Christian is to be such.
- They put God and His church first, family second and work last on their list of priorities.
- They build up where problems arise, rather than tearing down their precious brothers from whom Christ died. Addressing the problem by looking for solutions rather than maliciously gossiping and destroying others reputations and effective service.
- They sacrifice personal wants rather than those things that build up and advance the interests of the kingdom of God. (When faced the option of giving their tithes or taking a vacation, guess where they place their priority?)
- They compliment rather compete with their fellow saints in a team effort to win the lost and edify the found.
- They overlook many offences for the greater good of the whole, being loyal to Christ’s interests over their own feelings or reputations.
- They are the first to get there and the last to leave, whether a Bible study, the local assembly or a family camp, at work, or whatever.
- They don’t DIVORCE or leave their families! One woman for one man for life.
- They continue proclaiming God’s goodness and Christ’s Lordship in hostile situations.
- They support their leaders in the church before all men, and find ways to help them be more effective through encouragement in words and deeds and cash.
- They don’t write secret “against” letters to their leaders!
- They freely volunteer their services for all kinds of work on all occasions.
- They don’t attend funerals and miss the Lord’s Supper!
- They don’t travel on the Lord’s Day unless truly unavoidable.
- They don’t take another job just for higher pay if it means less time with family and the church. Neither do they move away from their home church simply for financial gain.
- They support their school in money, volunteer work, prayers and supporting the teachers in their discipline of the children.
- They’re patriotic towards the nation of their natural birth, praying for the leaders and for their fellow citizens, that peace may prevail and goodness triumph. They support educational means to properly inform their fellow citizens to make good, Bible-based political decisions.
- They don’t quit assigned tasks, but finish what they start and do it well.
- They love and encourage their fellow saints to grow and be happy in Christ.
Are you a loyalist? Can your nation and family, and much more importantly, your spiritual nation and family, count on your support? Are you an ardent fan in Christ’s team, showing up at each home and away game with the team colors flying high? Do you feel part of this spiritual, transformation-restoration revolution of the Lord’s church by getting back to the Bible only, or are you merely a spectator?
If still undecided, then get off the fence by studying to see where the truth leads, and then making a single-minded decision to enthusiastically immerse yourself totally in promoting the kingdom of Christ, today. Remember that Christ has no place for the luke-warm except in the puke-bucket! Stand up and be counted as one of David’s mighty men. (Read the loyal actions of these warriors in I Chron. 11:16-19) You can count on Christ to be there when you call on Him. Can He count on you?
Ask yourself this final question: If all the church were as loyal and committed as you were, how great would your local congregation be? Think about and decide to be loyal Jonathan. We have a friend who sticks closer than a brother – Jesus Christ. Be one too.