Loyalty is the very first of the seven Army values. While in training, we were taught the shorthanded definition of the values. If you remember the introduction to this series, I rewrote those shorthanded definitions to fit our lives as Christians. The following is part of the Army’s definition of the word loyalty: “Bear true faith and allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, the Army, your unit and other Soldiers. Bearing true faith and allegiance is a matter of believing in and devoting yourself to something or someone.”
Look familiar? The following is what I consider to be the definition of loyalty as it pertains to a Christian; “Bear true faith and allegiance to the Word of God, the Church, and to God. Bearing true faith and allegiance to these things is a matter of believing in and devoting yourself to Christ.” This is one of the many values and characteristics that Christians should seek to possess.
One individual in the Bible shows us on multiple occasions what it means to be a loyal follower of Jesus Christ. Timothy is a great example to look up to and to follow in one’s walk with Christ. On multiple occasions he shows us what it means to be a loyal soldier of God.
“Bear true faith and allegiance…”
In order to be a loyal soldier of God, you must be able to bear true faith and allegiance. In the definition of loyalty, I explained what it means to do this as “a matter of believing in and devoting yourself to Christ.” This is ultimately the first step that a Christian should take; to believe that Jesus is the Lord and Savior as well as devoting yourself to Him, His ways, and His teachings.
I believe that God calls on each and every Christian to be a believer and to be apart of the elect. Everyone has their own story to tell, but at one point or another the Holy Spirit moved us to the point of where we believed in the powerful and wonderful story of Jesus Christ. Believing and having faith in Christ is only a small part of being a loyal soldier of God, but to be truly loyal, you need to devote yourself to Christ.
The definition of the word “devote” is to “give all or a large part of one’s time or resources to (a person, activity, or cause).” I love this definition because I automatically think of how a Christian should live his or her life. Being a Christian isn’t a part time thing and it doesn’t just occur on Sundays. It is a lifelong commitment that should take up much of our time and efforts.
We can see that Timothy bears true faith and allegiance when we read the Bible. In 2 Timothy 3:14 (ESV), Paul says to him, “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it.” Firstly, we can see that Timothy was devoted because he took time and effort to learn about the Lord. Secondly, he firmly believed in Jesus Christ.
“…to the Word of God…”
When we believe and devote ourselves to Christ, we bear true faith and allegiance to three things, the first being the Word of God. The Bible is true and perfect. In its writings are instructions to how we should live our lives and it gives examples to follow and look up to. But how will we ever know what those are if we don’t read it? Reading the Bible should be apart of our daily lives.
Paul also instructs Timothy to continue to study scripture. Continuing from the passage above to 2 Timothy 3:15-17 (ESV), “…and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
Once again, Timothy gives us a great example to look up to and follow as we live our daily lives as Christians. From a young age, Timothy studied the Scripture and because of that, he was able to see the clear truth that Jesus is the Messiah. Paul adds to Timothy’s example a list of several more reasons to read and study the scripture. He concludes the list by explaining that scripture equips and completes the man of God for every good work. A soldier is trained and equipped to fight on the battlefield, and we are all supposed to be trained and equipped to have loyalty to Christ. The “man of God” refers to being followers of Christ, and “every good work” refers to everything that God calls us to do.
The second thing that we should bear true faith and allegiance in order to be a loyal soldier of God is the Church. The church is the body of Christ, so when we bear faith and allegiance to the Church, we practice being loyal Christians. In 1 Corinthians 12:12 (ESV), Paul explains this to the Corinthians, “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.” We as Christians come from various backgrounds, and yet we are unified under the same beliefs.
Now, when I talk about the church, I don’t talk about the paid staff of the church, but of the weekly churchgoers that call themselves Christians. Recently, I had a friend who was upset at our church because the “church” didn’t help someone in need. When I sat down with him and one of my pastors, my pastor explained that they (being the paid staff) viewed the people who helped out (who were weekly churchgoers and volunteers at the church) as the church helping out.
Once again, we can look up to Timothy as being a loyal follower of Christ. We see that Paul sends Timothy to Corinth to help the church in 1 Corinthians 4:17 (ESV), “That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in the church.”
“…and to God.”
By firmly believing and devoting himself to the Lord, Timothy bears true faith and allegiance. By constantly studying and reading the scriptures, Timothy completes and equips himself for whatever God calls him to do. By having faith and allegiance to the body of Christ, Timothy shows what it means to be a loyal soldier of God. Finally, Timothy bears true faith and allegiance to God when he answers the divine calling.
Everyone has a purpose in life… a reason to live. And I believe that God has called on all Christians to a have a specific purpose. Timothy answers God’s calling, no matter where it took him. He is a great example to follow for being a loyal Christian, a loyal follower of Christ, and a loyal Soldier of God.
Once again, Timothy is a good example of this in 2 Timothy 1:6-7 (ESV), “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” Paul reminds Timothy to be loyal to God’s calling for his life. As Christians, we are all given the spirit that Timothy was given to be in love, empowered, and self-controlled.
I hope that you have a better understanding on what it means to be a loyal soldier of God. Here’s a few questions for you to meditate on:
How often do you spend time reading the Bible and in prayer?
How often do you have conversations about Jesus Christ, the Bible, theology, etc?
Do you tithe regularly?
Do you go out and evangelize?
For some people, you may want to rethink how you should walk, talk, and act as a Christian. For others, you may do those things often and well. However, there is always room for more. I have a saying that I like to tell people; There is always room for improvement and you should always seek it. The same is the case here. We as Christians should always want our relationship with Christ to grow. We should always strive to be loyal, and most importantly remain loyal.