Greetings from Joni and Friends Family Retreat!
I had the opportunity dialogue with a pastor this week who was asking about my lessons learned at TD, while sharing a few struggles he has with his own people at his church. One mutual observation was the loyalty and commitment people ultimately have … to themselves .
And it is pervasive:
In “Job Hopping is the New Normal,” the Wall Street Journal asserts that mobility is the new way of life for the younger generation, and that Millennials expect to stay a their jobs for less than 3 years in pursuit of better opportunities.
When asked about the perception that he is not a great friend, one world-renowned athlete recently responded by saying, “Friends come and go, but banners hang forever.”
In an article on healthy living, a Boise State psychology professor concludes that you need to value yourself above others and not hold back when it comes to you, ending the article with, “Here’s to making a commitment to YOU.”
It is precisely this commitment to ourselves that is the source of the death sentence we all face, as ultimately manifested in torn relationships – with God and with each other. Inconvenient loyalty and undying commitment to God and each other in the face of seemingly “better” options and opportunities – manifested by the ability to actually live life in order in every aspect of our lives – is a very powerful apologetic.
This will be something worth discussing and honing at TD on Friday! It is they key to living potent Christian lives for the long-haul. Here’s an article below from gotquestions?.org on what the Bible says about loyalty:
Question: “What does the Bible say about loyalty?”
Answer:The wordloyaltybrings 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” inPhilippians 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).
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).