It is not unusual to have loyalties. We all have loyalties to things such as jobs, family, school, sports teams, hobbies, etc. Some loyalties may be serious and demanding, while others may be pleasant and enjoyable. More often than not, we choose that to which we will be loyal.
Scripture speaks of a loyalty that should far exceed any other. It is a loyalty, not to something, but to a person – the Lord Jesus Christ.
Loyalty to Christ
The standard of loyalty was set by Jesus Himself. When He walked the earth, He demanded absolute loyalty to Himself.
“Now large crowds were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them, ‘If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:25-27 (NASB)
Christ’s call to Himself was so demanding that it involved leaving everything. As God incarnate, Christ had (and still has) the right to demand such sold-out loyalty. For He bought His followers with a price – His very own life. (1 Corinthians 6:19)
At times, Christ’s own apostles would falter in their desires to follow Him. Thus, we should make sure we know from the Word what loyalty to Christ actually is and choose wisely to follow. It will be worth it because, as a devoted follower of Christ, we will inherit eternal life.
“Then Peter said to Him, ‘Behold, we have left everything and followed You; what then will there be for us?’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last; and the last, first.’” Matthew 19:27-30 (NASB)
This single-minded devotion to Christ involved death to friendship with this world. That price was too high for many people and so they would stop following Christ. At the end of this age, loyalty to Christ will also cost people dearly.
“Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another.” Matthew 24:9-10 (NASB)
“You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.” Matthew 10:22 (NASB)
Many preachers today want to slightly alter the call to follow Christ, to make it more appealing, more user friendly. They suggest that Jesus is something you can “add” to your already comfortable life to make it even better. In light of what we just read in Scripture, did Jesus ever give the sense that someone could “add Him” onto their life? Is it all about us and what we need or want? How can we change Jesus’ very own words and say it is the same message?!
To close, let us remember Jesus’ words in Luke and ask ourselves if we are sold out enough to obey Him and bear witness to His gospel even if it requires suffering.
He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me, scatters. Luke 11:23 (NASB)