When looking for examples of loyalty from Scripture, it’s impossible to look past the Book of Ruth. Ruth was a Moabite woman married to an Ephrathite from Bethlehem, an Israelite. Her mother-in-law was a woman named Naomi.
Eventually, Naomi’s husband Elimelech died as did Ruth’s husband. Knowing that life would not be easy for them, Naomi urged Ruth to go back to her people where her prospects would be better, but Ruth refused to go saying, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you” (Ruth 1:16-17).
Ruth lived out the wisdom of Proverbs 18:24, “A (person) of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Ruth proved to be that friend to Naomi. Though life may have been easier for her back with her own people, she gave her life to the one she loved.
Examples of loyalty litter Scripture. Instead of giving in and quitting due to the jeers of the crowd for building a ship on dry land, Noah persisted and was rewarded with life. Instead of ignoring God’s call, Abram left his own country and his family and his father’s house (Genesis 12:1) to a land he did not know and eventually God was true to His word to make Abram’s, later Abraham’s, name great. Instead of resting in his old age, Moses went back to lead the people of Israel out of slavery in Egypt to a land promised to them by God. They were all rewarded for their loyalty and given the land of milk and honey.
We could include David, the prophets, the apostles and the many others who gave their life under persecution. Examples of loyalty to God shine through the dimness of worldliness and selfishness throughout all of history.
Jesus spoke these words as He ate His final meal with those who had followed Him from the beginning, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down His life for His friends” (John 15:13). First this was a foretelling of what He was about to do out of His loyalty toward all believers, but it was also a foretelling of what His disciples would be asked to do in loyalty after His death and resurrection.
Still today, God expects His faithful followers to show Him their loyalty in everything they say and do. Still today, God asks us to give our lives, put down our nets and follow Him, even when times get rough because of the faith we share.
In return, God has proven that He will be faithful to His people, even going so far as to allow His only Son to be killed so that our sins might be wiped clean. Each day He sends rain to replenish the earth and the sun to warm us. Each day He provides the things we need to sustain us. He is forever faithful and loyal and He hopes for us to return that kindness and love both to Him and to those whom He has made, no matter the circumstances.
But loyalty is sometimes a hard virtue to master. Ask King David who lost His way and murdered a man so that He might commit adultery with His wife. Ask Peter who swore to Christ saying, “Even if I must die with You, I will not deny You” (Matthew 26:35), yet bowed under pressure and denied Him three times. Ask Judas who would forsake Christ by selling His life for a few pieces of silver. All were men of God, but all became disloyal in times of selfishness.
Our loyalty to God is a daily battle against our selfish ambition. Even knowing that the way is better if God is guiding us, we continually strive to find our own way apart from His direction. Our loyalty goes only as far as our self-centeredness allows.
But with each passing day that we remain loyal to God, the battle becomes easier. As we see that a life in Christ is the balm to life that we seek, our loyalty becomes more and more obvious to others and easier to maintain ourselves. That’s why God asks for every part of our lives, because He knows that any distraction might be the one we lose ourselves in.
How would you judge your loyalty to Christ? Are you willing to follow Him no matter what, or will your loyalty to Him only take you so far? Trust in God, show Him your loyalty in everything you do and say (and think). He has great plans for you because He is loyal to you. Show Him you are ready for Him to take control. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, thank you for always being loyal to us even in times we show only disloyalty in return. Give us strength to be faithful servants and devoted followers. Amen.