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It’s been said you know who is loyal when the road gets dark. I’m thankful for Jesus’ loyalty. What a great loyal wife God has given me! Thank God for loyal friends! We’ve all had people in our lives who have been loyal and disloyal. How do we be the kind of loyal we desire in others? The Apostle Paul understood the importance of loyalty to those to whom he had been called by the Lord. Proverbs 20:6 says, “Who can find a faithful man?” Oh how that seems true sometimes. 2 Chronicles 16:9 says God’s eyes are going to and fro throughout the whole earth for those whose hearts are loyal to Him. Solomon wasn’t loyal to the Lord, and it was his downfall (1 Kings 11:4, 15:3). David prayed it for his son (1 Chronicles 29:19), and Solomon even asked Israel to be loyal (1 Kings 8:61). Truth is, we can want people to be loyal and they can want us to be as well, but we must desire loyalty in ourselves foremost.

Loyalty can be difficult when problems arise. It may seem easier to avoid and even abandon one’s calling, church, marriage, and relationships when others seem and are disloyal, but it is by being loyal to them through difficulties that covenant relationships are formed. Loyalty involves faithfulness, devotion, and obligations of love and friendship to the Lord, His truth, and those we lead toward the Lord and His truth. It is hard to be critical of those you love as your desire is to defend them. Loyalty assumes the best and is based on1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Trust is cultivated by loyalty. That develops respect, sacrifice, and devoted service. Loyalty says one can be counted on to be what they should be, where they should be, when they need to be it because they have been with Jesus.

Paul’s loyalty to the churches he founded, especially the one in Corinth, was tested. The Corinthian church was a fornicating (1 Cor. 5:1), sexually immoral (5:9), suing one another (6:1), idolatrous (10:14), drunk at communion (11:17-22), and abusive in their spiritual gifts (14) kind of church. They were even divisive in which leader they liked more (Paul, Apollos, Cephas in 1:12). They also began to attack Paul’s apostleship (2 Cor 11:13) when they didn’t agree with him! It is easy to be loyal to a church (or anything/one else) when everything is going good in church and everybody likes you, but is that really loyalty?

Loyalty is found in the long haul. It is tested by fire. It is developed through the issues. It arises from the ashes. One becomes loyal though pain, tears, sweat, sleeplessness, and prayerfulness. Loyalty remains steadfast to Jesus’ truth and promises through the disappointments and frustrations while it waits for the true repentance that comes in the body it so desperately loves (2 Chronicles 7:7-9). Loyalty is not just infatuated with the honeymoon period of ministry. It is also not always looking for the next honeymoon period. When the honeymoon fades, some pastors go looking for the next one. Loyalty stays put in tough times because it knows God is building character and deepening love. Loyalty is content and knows its calling. Loyalty is deeply in love and its eyes and heart are set with an eternal perspective. It looks beyond the moment. It suffers long, is kind, is not provoked, thinks no evil, doesn’t rejoice in sin, rejoices in truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and ensures all things (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).May I be loyal to you Jesus (saved 35 years), to my wife (soon to be 21 years), to your church (entering my 25th year on staff at Family Church), and to all you have called me.

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Stephen and his wife Haley have called Arkansas home all of their lives. Stephen has served in several ministry roles over the last 25 years and as a lead pastor for the last 8 years. Stephen attended Williams Baptist College and earned a BA in Biblical Studies from Ouachita Baptist University, an MA, MDiv, and DMin in Christian Leadership and Pastoral Ministries from Liberty University. When not pastoring, Stephen enjoys running, cycling, reading, writing, camping, fishing, and spending time with his family.

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