By Pastor Gary Keesee , Faith Life Church, Johnstown, Ohio
Wait. Before you answer that answer this: How well do you follow instructions from someone in authority? When your leader gives you something to do that you don’t really want to do how do you act? Do you take the assignment and run with it? Or do you get offended and start complaining to the people around you?
Now that you’ve answered those questions, I’ll ask you again – are you loyal?
If you’ve been following these posts, you know that I’ve been talking about the authorities in our lives and how they are established by God to help us, protect us, mold us, and mentor us. And some of us soak that up because we’ve learned – probably the hard way – that submission to the leadership or authorities God has placed in our lives gives us an advantage. But some people don’t think they need to submit to or be loyal to anyone or they think that they only need to be submissive and loyal to certain people or in specific situations. And that is where things get dangerous.
The Bible tells us that those who have been given a trust must prove loyal and we’ve all been given a trust – or responsibilities – of some sort. We are required to be loyal to the person that gave us the trust, or the responsibilities. So many people want promoted in business and in ministry, but they aren’t loyal to the leaders in their lives. Loyalty is the pathway to promotion.
So how do we know if we’re really loyal? What does loyalty, or even more importantly – disloyalty, look like?
One of the first ways to recognize disloyalty is to look for an independent spirit. While loyal people follow instructions, seek to please leadership, and desire to be problem solvers, the independent spirits want to do things their way. They think their ideas are better than those of leadership. They begin to do things a little bit differently than the way they were asked to do them. They bend the rules, even if only subtly. And if and when leadership calls them on it, they quickly move to the next phase of disloyalty – offense.
You will be offended and you will offend at some point in your life. Loyal people forgive and move on. Disloyal people don’t. They take it personally. Then, because they’re carrying that offense, they become passive – the third phase of disloyalty. They stop showing up. They withdraw. Think about it. When you feel offended by someone are you generous toward that person – with your giving, your time, your attention, in serving them? Nope. Offended people stop doing.
And because offended, passive people are too busy watching instead of doing, they become critical – the fourth phase of disloyalty. They talk about the problems and never offer solutions. They blame leadership and never take responsibility. Conversely, loyal people realize that there will always be problems and that they play a role in fixing them. Loyal people know that we do it together.
The only thing disloyal people do together is get political – the fifth phase of disloyalty. This is when they get a little gutsy. They no longer just criticize leadership in front of those closest to them, but they start to draw others in to build a case against leadership and to have a forum for their complaints. They need justification. And when they’ve got their group of supporters, they move into phase six of disloyalty – deceit.
Disloyal people are almost always deceived. They think of themselves higher than they should. They forget their teachers and how they got where they are. They forget to be grateful for those that have laid the path before them. Deception tells them, “You’re big,” and “They don’t appreciate you.” And so disloyal people get bold and openly rebel – phase seven of disloyalty. They put it all out there. They blog about it. They tell everyone they talk to about the offense.
Then they start attracting others like them – rebels who are also offended easily and who will offend them. And so they come to a crossroads – begin the whole process over again or change and submit. Either way, if a disloyal person has come to this eighth phase, an ‘execution’ of some sort has to take place.
So, are you in one of these phases? May it be said about you that you’re loyal? Do your employers, your spouse, your friends, and your pastor call you loyal? If your answer is yes that’s great. If you know that you’ve been in one of these phases, though, it’s not too late to change. Your emotions have nothing to do with it. You make the choice to be loyal. You don’t have to feel loyal to be loyal.
Once you get that you will know how to respond to assignments, carry some weight, and be trusted with the bigger-than-life things God has for you. You can do anything because God backs up the loyal.