The Lost Art of Loyalty

Thursday, September 13, 2012 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments


Reprinted from original article written in 1999

"As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever." 1 Chronicles 28:9

According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 1 Corinthians 3:10

Loyalty defined: The state of being true or faithful in allegiance; faithful to the lawful government, to a prince or superior; true to plighted faith, duty, or love; not treacherous; constant.

Today, we see a rejection or neglect of steadfastness to time-honored principles that has eroded the foundations of marriage, family and the church.

If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do? (Psalms 11:3)

With all that God has given the righteous in Christ in the form of gifts and grace, without a foundation, there is no lasting basis upon which to build. The best blueprints for a home and the purchase of the finest building materials are useless without a solid foundation to build upon.

In the body of Christ, we can also observe an unusual surge in people seeking the spectacular over the substantive; that which benefits self rather than what is good for the kingdom of God; searching for other revelation than what the Word of God declares and other actions that ignore foundational principles.

As I have reflected on this problem of people not recognizing foundational issues and principles, the Holy Spirit began to show me how a lack of loyalty lies at the root of this neglect.

The litmus test for choosing or keeping leaders (in secular and sacred circles) seems to be, "What have you done for me lately?"

David told Solomon to serve God with a loyal heart and a willing mind. What does it mean to have a loyal heart? It meant that Solomon needed to maintain a clarity of purpose and a sharp focus on the commands and direction of the Lord and his father/leader, David. He (and we) needed to maintain proper relationships vertically (with God) and horizontally (with prophets, priests and people) He needed to know the nature and quality of those who came along side.

As David discovered, if a leader is not paying attention, an Absalom will arise to stand by the gate of the king's court to "steal the hearts of the people"; divert their attention to another agenda and cause a spirit of distrust and lack of confidence to build against the senior leader. As the apostle Paul said, "divisions must come among you, that those who are approved may be made manifest..." At the point of "di-vision" (another vision, separate from the stated vision) and separation, all the lines of disloyalty appear. Similar judgments, actions and statements clearly reveal the source and nature of the Absalom spirit even to the extent that people who are not directly involved, but are not loyal in heart, are negatively affected.

Solomon had received from God the gift of wisdom a divine ability to make proper choices and decisions that were consistent with God's will. He did well as long as he maintained a loyal heart. By wisdom he built the glorious temple. By wisdom he resolved disputes among his people. By wisdom he made a great nation even greater. The Queen of Sheba came to behold the greatness of the kingdom under Solomon and to meet the man whose fame was known to many lands.

So long as he maintained a loyal heart, he served the purpose of God and enhanced the Kingdom of God. However, when he began to compromise loyalty of heart, foundations began to crack and crumble. In time, the kingdom of God suffered loss and crisis.

His disloyalty of heart began with implementing policies of forced labor and the use of ungodly men in the building of the temple as well as introducing unnecessary luxury and extravagance in the building of his own house. Later his heart was turned from the Lord by his affection for wives he never should have married. His son, Rehoboam, who succeeded him as king, inherited a shakey and soon-to-be-divided kingdom due to the damage done to the foundation by Solomon.

But King Solomon loved many foreign women, as well as the daughter of Pharaoh: women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites from the nations of whom the LORD had said to the children of Israel, "You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. For surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods." Solomon clung to these in love. (1 Kings 11:1-2)

Loyalty of heart requires one to hold to established divine principles while resisting the carnal whims of selfish ambition. This mistake (loss) on Solomon's part caused a crack in the foundation of the nation which eventually led to the division of the kingdom (crisis) under Rehoboam. At that point, a man named Jeroboam arose who, being the epitome of disloyalty and absence of integrity, capitalized on the crisis and confusion which beset the nation.

Like Jonah, who evaded his purpose in Nineveh, when compromise begins, Tarshish awaits. There seems to always be something or someone that is ready to receive those who lose loyalty of heart and seeks to take advantage of people in difficult situations by appealing to their fears, hurts and lack. Like the drug dealer who lures the young man who can't find a decent job; or the pimp who makes prostitutes out of women who were simply looking for someone to love and care for them; or the believer who gossips and betrays confidences resulting in broken fellowship; or the church who receives people without inquiry or question into a fellowship who caused or encouraged havoc and confusion in the last church they attended.

What often seems good and helpful to people from one perspective ultimately injures the kingdom of God and the witness of christian unity in a community. We were told by the Apostle Paul to not be a partaker in the sins of another. In the church today, we will not benefit from a policy of "don't ask, don't tell."

Disloyalty to God, to man and to the Word creates an internal disorder which, like HIV, may take years to manifest as a deadly condition. "Can a man take fire to his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?" (Prov. 6:27).

The strength of a foundation is only known by the storms and stresses that try it. It is certain that any plan, idea, belief, action, reaction, response, or ministry that is not built by or squarely based upon the Word, will not survive major storms. It is only a matter of time before an absent or faulty foundation is revealed. However, as with David, who sinned with Bathsheba and had her husband killed, we can also be recovered from disloyalty and restored to integrity if we can accept loving confrontation and deal with transgression of truth as David did when confronted by Nathan the prophet.

Sadly, the word of faith-charismatic-full gospel movement has led the charge downward into disloyalty and a rejection of truth, integrity and ethics. The final perception of reality has become "What God told me" rather than "What thus says the Lord." Like currency, people just circulate among the doctrines, movements and churches which seem to be the most relevant at the time. It would seem reasonable that if we heard from God as clearly as we indicate, that we would be able to be doers of the Word and would be faithful in the least things. But a disloyal heart lives by its own standards, confirmed by "prophets" who tell people only what they want to hear.

Excitement will not replace insight. Great works will not replace "first works." Dimming the light of others will never brighten our own.

A disloyal heart displeases God because it is contrary to God's nature. Cain refused offer an acceptable sacrifice to God or to become his brother's keeper. His killing of Abel incurred the curse of becoming a vagabond one who wanders from place to place, having no home, no identity, loyal to no one but self (Gen. 4:12).

As with the divided kingdom of old, so it is today. While Israel sought after the new and different, Judah stayed with the truth and remained loyal to those principles handed down from God through Abraham, Moses, the judges and ultimately through King David:

So every man of Israel deserted David, and followed Sheba the son of Bichri. But the men of Judah, from the Jordan as far as Jerusalem, remained loyal to their king. (2 Sam. 20:2)

Some keys to restoring a loyal heart include:
1. Faithfulness to God-ordained relationships and purposes
2. Repentance and restitution for injuries caused by lies, gossip and false judgments
3. Understanding one's own gifts, grace and measure in the body of Christ and working within them
4. Submitting to spiritual authority as unto the Lord
5. Reading and living out the Word of God
6. Strengthening and supporting your local church/leaders and thereby enhance the larger church
7. Resolve conflicts and problems by the Word going to those with whom we have a problem.