THE WHOLEHEARTED LEADER
PILLAR 4: Holiness of Character
Growing in Loyalty
“One who pursues righteousness and loyalty finds life, righteousness, and honor.”
Proverbs 21:21 (NASB)
God is the God of Covenant. He is faithful. Loyalty is something that characterizes God, and it should characterize us if we are walking in holiness of character. So, our next characteristic of the wholehearted leader is loyalty. How have you grown in loyalty? Are you a loyal friend? Are you someone who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24)?
How do we define loyalty?
What do you think of when you hear the world loyalty? Perhaps you think of being trustworthy, of walking in integrity, of being faithful. Loyalty means to be devoted and faithful to someone, wholeheartedly committed to them. Loyalty is persevering in devotion, even when it’s hard. A loyal friend sticks with you, through thick and thin.
We all probably have the desire to be a loyal spouse, a faithful friend, a loyal colleague, and especially a faithful follower of God. But sometimes things derail that loyalty, especially when we are challenged by problems or distractions or we get our feelings hurt or we feel our loyalty isn’t reciprocated. But remember that faithfulness is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22), and the fruit of the Spirit is grown in the soil of adversity.
Who do we speak to when making a covenant?
God is a God of Covenant. A covenant is a holy promise, made between two people in the sight of God, or between God and people. I want to remind you that when we make a covenant with someone, like in marriage, we are not just speaking vows to each other. We are speaking them to God Himself! We are making that covenant before God.
In Abraham’s time, what did the marriage covenant look like?
I want us to think about the Abrahamic Covenant, but first, let’s look at what a marriage covenant looked like in Abraham’s day. Back in those times, when they would create a marriage covenant, what would happen is the father of the bride and the father of the groom would get together because the fathers arranged the marriages back then. They would get together for the ceremony, and they would kill a calf or some other animal. They would separate the parts of that animal in two, and the blood would pool together in the middle.
And, basically, the fathers would covenant over one another. The father of the bride would say something like, “My daughter is going to be an amazing wife to your son and bring him many children and be an amazing mother to your grandchildren.” And the father of the bride would go on like this, and then say, “If she doesn’t, may you do this to me.” And he walks through the puddle of blood. Basically, he was saying, “You can slaughter me and stomp on my blood if my daughter isn’t a good wife to your son.” I know it sounds violent, but that’s how they did covenant.
And then the father of the groom would do the same thing. “My son is going to be a good provider and take care of your daughter and bring you many grandchildren, and if not, may you do the same to me.” And that father would pass through the blood.
What did God’s covenant with Abraham signify?
Look at the covenant God made with Abraham in Genesis 15. He told Abraham to bring Him the animals, and Abraham did. Abraham cut the animals in half, and the blood pooled in the middle. And then, the fire of God passed through, between the animals and through the blood. But God did not let Abraham pass through the blood. God covenanted to Himself.
When Jesus died on the cross, part of what He did by becoming the Lamb of God was He was the animal. He was the one who shed blood. He became the sacrifice – as us, for us, on the cross. Again, God covenanted. He completed the covenant. He created a new covenant because of Christ when He became the actual Lamb for us. Isn’t that good? That’s the Gospel, right there! That’s the loyal devotion of God toward us.
Are you loyal?
Loyalty! How are you growing in the characteristic of loyalty, of faithfulness? Are you a true friend? Are you really there for people? Are you able to come through? Does your word mean something? When you say something, do you follow through with it? It’s important that we are loyal and trustworthy, that we do what we say we will do. Loyalty is such an important characteristic because God is faithful.
Clearly, God values loyalty. He expects us to be loyal to Him and to others. When we are loyal, we find life, righteousness, and honor. But the truth is, being loyal isn’t easy. It requires being truthful, not revealing confidences shared with us, being good stewards of what we’re entrusted with, and being faithful even when it’s hard.
How do we grow in loyalty?
Meditate on the times when God has been faithful and loyal to you. Thank Him for His trustworthiness and His enduring devotion toward you. Think about the people in your life who are exemplary in the characteristic of loyalty. Think about how that plays out in their relationships with others. Thank God for those people and aspire to follow their example.
Ask God to help you remember the times when you stuck it out and were faithful and loyal – to Him or to other people. Ask Him to help you cultivate that characteristic even more deeply. Think about the people with whom you are in covenant and specific situations where you need to be loyal and faithful. Ask God to show you how to be more loyal and trustworthy and reveal areas where you need to grow in that quality.
Repent of bitterness or unforgiveness you have been holding against others that are derailing your loyalty to them. Forgive them and speak a blessing over them. Remember that cultivating loyalty is a process and that we are His workmanship, and allow God to continue to develop the quality of faithfulness and loyalty in your life.
We are a covenant people with a covenant God. When we said yes to Christ, we made a covenant with Him. “I am Yours and You are mine.”
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