“…And give my son Solomon a loyal heart to keep your commandments and Your testimonies and Your statutes, to do all these things, and to build the temple for which I have made provision.”1 Chronicles 29:19 NKJV
In this scripture, David is praying over the next King of Israel, his son Solomon. David asked the Lord to give his son a loyal heart. It is necessary for membership and leadership to walk in loyalty.
The dictionary defines loyalty as; faithful to the constituted authority of one’s country. Faithful to those persons, ideals, etc. that one is under obligation to defend, support, or be true to relating to, or indicating loyalty.
Loyalty is faithfulness to hold fast to your commitments even after circumstances have changed.
The greatest thing missing in our churches from the pulpit to the pew is loyalty!
Look around. Watch how many people will leave your church within a year. They come in and want to be connected, then all of a sudden cool off, and show disinterest in the church and what it is doing. Their attendance starts wavering; their attitude starts changing. Suddenly they are talking about the pastor, the leaders or someone in the church they don’t like. This once loyal and fired up member is now walking in a spirit of anger and bitterness.
We must strive to stop this spirit of disloyalty from destroying what men and women of God are trying to build for the Kingdom of God.
I was sitting in a room with some great men of God once. One of these men was talking about a certain person who had been with him for years and then suddenly rose up and attacked him. The other preacher sitting beside me said, “I tell you what; loyalty is a rare gift to have around you.” I do believe this to be true.
“The Proof of Loyalty is measured through time…”
Loyalty is measured through time… There are many people around us that may appear to be loyal; however, loyalty is measured by time. Loyalty is abiding and remaining even when things around you have changed. In my book, “God’s Unwavering Faithfulness”, I touched on the subject of a servant worker verses a servant attitude.
SERVANT WORKER VERSUS SERVANT ATTITUDE
The heart of a servant is different than that of someone who just fills a servant’s role. Many times, I’ve seen people that will try to serve leaders because they see an end to a means not because they are servants. They know that by serving they can get close to the leader to make connections for their future. The truth is that no one who enters serving with this agenda is going to remain loyal. Expect them to rise up against you as soon as they have obtained all they need. They are not about you or what you’re doing. They are not interested in what you’ve learned. They are only interested in what you have earned. In case you don’t understand… THEY WANT YOUR STUFF!
How do I know that you are a servant? When I treat you like a servant and you don’t become angry or agitated with me. There is a big difference in doing the work of a servant and having the heart of a servant.
Don’t allow people to become servants in your life until they have passed the test of time. Time will prove them… Time will reveal their motives… Time exposes hidden agenda’s. I encourage you to move quickly and swiftly away from them if they begin to show disloyal attributes.
Remember, those you allow around you who could be the deciding factor to your season, good or bad. Don’t allow wrong people to connect to you. They could be walking in a disobedient lifestyle. They could have left their last season with a crisis that they haven’t taken care of. Now they have connected you to their consequences.
Jonah’s disobedience affected everyone on the boat with him. Jonah was running from God and God’s instruction. Halfway through the trip a great storm appeared and began to sink the ship. Here is where it gets “hairy.” The people begin to throw their things from the ship; believing something they had – or had not done- was causing this crisis. However, Jonah knew that it was not what they had on the ship, but who was on the ship that was causing all their problems. Jonah told them to throw him overboard, and their storm would be over.
How many could be living in a storm right now that wasn’t scheduled for their life, but they allowed wrong people around? Now they are experiencing their problems.
QUALIFY THOSE YOU WANT TO CONNECT TO YOU
Loyalty is a decision of the will, not an emotional response of the heart. People decide to be loyal. Loyalty is not an emotion. You don’t feel loyalty, you decide to be loyal. It’s a decision of the will. If loyalty were based on feelings, then even Jesus Himself may have become disloyal. I can tell you that when you are serving a leader there will be times where your feelings and emotions will be strained beyond comprehension. The moment you let your emotions have a voice you will begin to be deceived by the enemy or wrong people. That voice will make declarations such as, “You’re not appreciated… no one ever notices your effort and your willingness to serve.” You will start developing the “what about me” syndrome. It happens all of the time…no one cares… no one loves me… no one notices me… and the list goes on and on.
If you haven’t made the commitment to follow, the decision to be loyal, to remain, to stay faithful and abide, you will most assuredly make the wrong decision. Then you will leave a place where God may have planned to bless you beyond measure.
Many have left my ministry before it was their time to leave. Don’t misunderstand me, some needed to leave, but there were others that left because their feelings were hurt, or they developed a misunderstanding. As a result, these people left with a wrong attitude. They were not sent by God. They just went. Those who are sent by God do great things for God; those who “went” somewhere usually find themselves in a nomadic state of living. They just keep wondering around from one place to another trying to fit in but never seem to be able to. I believe those who leave a season the wrong way will never develop the correct mind-set to be sent to the next. Don’t be fooled. The churches are full of such nomadic people. These people will always be disloyal.
I had a family that came to Favor Life Church wounded and hurt. Their marriage was about to end in divorce… their children were mad and bitter over what had happened in their home. I made a mistake because I didn’t qualify why they were at Favor Life Church or what had happened at their last church. I spent time counseling and praying with them, but as soon as their marriage began to heal, they did a one-hundred eighty degree turn on me. They seemed full of leadership skills that would be a valuable help to the ministry in the beginning of our relationship. What a deception! They had what I call the entry of the palace but content of a hut. To make a long story short, they left in the night and moved on to another church to try to do damage there. I later found out they had left one church because they became mad at the senior pastor. Not only did they leave, but they caused a church split and tried to start another church. During the season of starting another church, their marriage became strained and the wife began to be unfaithful. As a result, they lost the church. Then they entered my ship (church) as a Jonah. I’m telling you Pastor, qualify everybody. Trust, but verify. This is my motto from now on.
All I needed to do was ask questions. We have been so conditioned to receive everybody in our churches that we are allowing Jezebel spirits to come in and destroy all we have worked for. This is not what we, as leaders, are to do. We are to be qualifiers.
The nickname for pastor is shepherd. What do shepherds really do? They lead their sheep to green pastures. They anoint their heads with oil. They sit on the high place and watch for wolves that might be trying to sneak into the sheep fold to do bodily harm. What does a shepherd do when he sees a wolf? He kills it. This is for the protection of the whole herd not just one. We need to rise up and become sheep inspectors; making sure wolves haven’t tried to mask themselves as sheep.
Loyalty is staying in submission after agreement ends. When does submission begin? Submission begins after agreement has ended. The truest test of loyalty is when you can stay connected even when you really don’t agree with what’s happening around you. The church will grow and become healthier if you will just walk through the season of confusion. Allow time for the leader to build their plan.
Loyalty is when you line up in agreement to the vision“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron, Running down on the edge of his garments.” Psalm 133:1-2 NKJV
Agreement is liken unto the oil.
Love doesn’t necessarily mean you will be loyal. Maybe I should say human love because God’s love is full of loyalty. God was faithful while we were yet sinners. Human love seems to have a weakness; as soon as the feeling is gone so is the commitment and loyalty. We are so cheap in our love and loyalty. We lack an understanding of what real love and real loyalty means.
How many have stood at an altar looking into each other’s eyes on their wedding day declaring their unwavering love? After some time these same people who were once in love now walk away from each other. The same couple who once said, “I will never leave you… I will never walk away, through sickness, through death, through good times and bad times I will be here…” are now divorcing. Their love has now turned into hate for each other. Over seventy percent of marriages end in divorce.
I say this because so many enter church confessing their love and support to the pastor; however, as easy as they entered they will eventually divorce. When they do, they will be as hateful as those same couples who pledged their everlasting love.
God’s love is everlasting to everlasting.
We need to wake up and start an extensive qualification process before we give a platform and position to those who just appear to be for us. Look at this verse in John.
“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.” 1 John 2:19 NKJV
If they were of us they would have continued with us. When they left they proved they weren’t of us. I have spent many days crying over those who left me and my ministry in times past. Let me clarify, not all who leave are walking in a spirit of Jezebel or out of God’s will. We all understand that we can’t lead everybody. Different strokes for different folks. However, many of those who leave, or have exited our lives, did so wrong; causing bodily harm to the Kingdom of God. These deep cuts and wounds can take months to heal, especially in those sheep that became prey to these wolves. There will be a day when those people will have to answer for their sins of disloyalty and dissension.
To be loyal, we must die to human love and pick up and carry the love of God in our hearts for all men.
“Hell has no weapon against a person who decides to love everybody.”
I was in Detroit, Michigan with my wife to minister when God woke me up with a still small voice whispering so gently in my spirit. “Hell has no weapon against a man who has decided to love everybody.” No man can fail when he has decided to love instead of hate. My response was, “Lord, I don’t understand. Are you telling me to love?” The Lord impressed this upon me. “Son you decide to love, I can‘t make you choose love. Love is your decision. To Love your enemies son, you are going to have to possess my love in you, which is Christ’s love.” God’s love through Christ in us is the only real way to stay loyal.
I began to cry and ask the Holy Spirit to help me to forgive; to release in my heart the offenses and wounds that I had allowed others to place there. “Lord, You are my Healer, and no one can remove these infractions but You.” I realize now that at that moment I began to heal on the inside. So many of us are trying to fix ourselves from the outside in, but I can tell you this truth, it works better when you heal from the inside first. What’s happening around us is usually a clue to what’s going on in us.
Why is loyalty so important?
Loyalty is the principal qualification for every person who desires to minister in the body of Christ. “Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.” 1 Corinthians 4:1-3 NKJV
Loyalty will produce peace and safety in the local church. Where there is no loyalty the atmosphere becomes agitated and aggressive. The rest of the church can’t find water to drink because sheep won’t drink in an unsafe environment.
Loyalty will allow the love of God to flow in the church. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35 NKJV
Loyalty is required to have a healthy ministry.
Loyalty is required to have a long-lasting and joyful ministry.
Loyalty must be present in our lives in order to reap our full reward. “But you are those who have continued with Me in My trials. And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Luke 22:28-31 NKJV