Dedication and loyalty are attributes which God expects of every believer.
Text: 1 Thess. 2:1-20, Jer. 35:1-19
Introduction: Dedication means giving of or devoting our time, energy and resources to a cause or a purpose, belief or person. For the believer, dedication is unto God and this involves a whole hearted commitment to Him, His word, work and people. Loyalty on the other hand means to be true and faithful to a cause, purpose, idea or person. To us as believers it involves our total obedience and submission to the will and purposes of God, Jesus said “ I must work the works of Him who sent me….(John 9:4). He was loyal to His Father. So we must be to the Lord.
People could be dedicated to a cause out of compulsion, for eye-service, or for vain and self-glory. Thus we see that even when the purpose of such a cause or person is not too clear or fully understood, some people still follow blindly giving their time, talent, and other resources. God does not desire us to follow Him blindly, or without a clear motive or purpose. In fact, He desires us to follow Him with a clear conscience and understanding. In this way, we open ourselves up for His infinite blessings.
Ignorance has made some believers to form the habit of giving God their leisure time instead of seeking first His kingdom and righteousness. Some have become seasonal Christians exhibiting an uncaring attitude towards the things of God. He expects His people to be fully dedicated and loyal to Him at all times so that He can manifest His glory through His chosen treasures. The prophets and the early Church that lived a victorious life were dedicated and loyal even unto death. We must have the same mind in order to live a victorious Christian life.
The objectives of this study are:
- To know that God expects us to be fully dedicated and loyal to Him always.
- To know that dedication is essential for Christian maturity. To know the areas in which we must demonstrate loyalty and dedication.
- To know that half-hearted dedication is unacceptable to God.
- To know that the Holy Spirit cannot operate in a person or group that lacks dedication and loyalty.
- To know that dedication and loyalty opens the door for unlimited blessings from God.
Q1. HOW IMPORTANT ARE DEDICATIO AND LOYALTY IN CHRISTIAN GROWTH AND MATURITY? Dedication and loyalty are two characteristics that we must have if we be faithful to God. They are also a mark of Christian maturity. Dedication ensures that we are wholly given to God and His word. When we are dedicated to our faith as believers then we will not need to be pushed to serve God. We know and find it absolutely important to be in full service for the Lord. We will not need to be told to study the Scriptures, spend meaningful time in prayers and be active. In the house of the Lord. By giving ourselves and all that is ours to the service of God and the Church, we find tremendous strength in God that enables us to grow. We graduate quickly from just “taking milk to eating real meat”. There is no way we can grow if we are not dedicated to the Lord. It takes us from being an onlooker to becoming a participant. It takes us from being served to becoming a servant. There is greater blessing in being a participant and a servant. We cannot grow in the faith if we are not given totally to the Lord. We must surrender our will and desires to the Lord.
Loyalty ensures that we live a life of obedience to the Lord and His word. It means that we will not rebel against Him or do that which is not pleasing in His sight. When we are loyal to the Lord we will hate everything that is sinful and unacceptable to Him. Loyalty to the Lord involves following Him no matter the cost. Paul in describing his loyalty to the Lord referred to himself as a prisoner of the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 3:1, 4:1, 2 Tim. 1:8). Christian loyalty also involves submission to the authority of the Lord.
Q2. DISCUSS SOME AREAS IN WHICH BELEIVERS ARE EXPECTED TO DEMONSTRATE DEDICATION AND LOYALTY.
Believers are expected to show dedication and loyalty to the Lord and to each other in every area of our lives. This is because we are to love the Lord with all of our heart, soul and body. Thus, in both spiritual and our day to day activities, we must exhibit loyalty and dedication. However, we examine some few scriptures to illustrate some specific areas where the Lord expects us to show loyalty and dedication. Ezra gave himself to seek, do and teach the law of the Lord (Ezra 7:10). Paul in his letter to Timothy admonished him “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needed not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15). These two passages are encouraging us to show dedication to the reading and studying of the word. We should also be loyal by doing that which we read. Studying God’s word should not be a mere routine but should be something we love to do at all times with zeal and zest. The mature individual seeks knowledge and holds onto it. In being dedicated to the study of God’s word, that believer will always be approved of God and will never be misled by wrong doctrines.
We must also show dedication and loyalty to the command to evangelize. Not many believers show reasonable dedication and loyalty to this call. Most of us pay lip service rather than becoming active in winning souls to the Lord. To show how important this is to Him, He gave it as a command. “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). The Lord and His church need brethren who are loyal by being dedicated to evangelism. Peter speaking in the house of Cornelius said of the Lord Jesus, “…who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him” (Acts 10:38). Likewise, James encouraged believers to show consideration to widows and the fatherless by visiting them (James 1:27). There are many wounded and bruised people both within and outside the Church looking for empathy. We the followers of Christ as a mark of our dedication and loyalty to Him must be involved in caring for the less privileged. This should be a way of life for the believer. God has given to each of us gifts, abilities, and assignments (Rom. 12:4-8, 1 Cor. 12:1-12). We are expected to use them for the benefit of the church.
We also demonstrate our dedication and loyalty to God by performing our civic duties such as paying all our dues, levies, taxes, and upholding the laws of the land. When we subject ourselves to the laws of our country we are showing our dedication and loyalty to God. The scriptures command that we should be subject to human ordinances as all authorities emanate from God (Rom. 13:1-7). In the same manner we should pray regularly for all our leaders whether we voted for them or not because they are instruments in the hands of God (1 Tim. 2:1-4). Failure to do that which is expected of us legally by the state amounts to disloyalty to Him who has called us. Jesus said “…. Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s (Matt. 22:21). Our witness is faulted if we disobey to obtain our vehicle shop license as and when due. Performance of civic duties is a mark of Christian maturity.
Another area in which we are expected to demonstrate dedication and loyalty is in our commitment to our local assembly (Heb. 10:25). Not only must we be regular and punctual at programs, we must be fully involved in one group or the other. It is not Christian maturity for a believer to stay away from fellowship just because members of the fellowship are not “perfect”. Such an attitude is nothing short of spiritual pride. There is no perfect church! Let us show our loyalty to God by being financially committed to our local assembly. Another area where dedication and loyalty are required is our marriage. Quite a number of homes are in disarray today because of lack of loyalty to God manifested in marital infidelity and divorce. Unfortunately, marriages between believing partners have not been spared. The Bible admonishes us to submit ourselves one to another in the fear of the Lord (Eph. 5:21). Being loyal and dedicated to your spouse and members of your household is not only a mark of Christian maturity but also an expression of our personal dedication and loyalty to the Lord. We cannot be loyal to the Lord without upholding the sanctity of marriage and our parental responsibilities.
Q3. IS IT POSSIBLE FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT TO MOVE WHERE DEDICATION AND LOYALTY ARE LACKING?
The presence of the Holy Spirit is only manifested in the lives of those who are wholly given to Him. The Lord desires in us a willingness to seek and serve Him before He endues us with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We must put aside those sins that so easily beset us and run with patience the race that is set before us (Heb. 12:1). The Bible says “If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use and prepared for every good work” (2 Tim. 2:21). A life that is not dedicated and sanctified cannot be a vessel through whom the Holy Spirit can operate. The Holy Spirit cannot move in an assembly where the people are not fully dedicated and loyal to God.
Q4. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF DEDICATION ANDD LOYALTY TO GOD?
A believer who is both dedicated and loyal to God opens himself to the full blessings of God. What God wants to see in every believer is commitment, dedication, and loyalty. The Lord told the children of Israel, “And ye shall serve the Lord your God, and he shall bless thy bread and thy water: and I will take away sickness away from the midst of thee” (Exo. 23:25). Thus, as long as we remain dedicated and loyal to Him, He will ensure that we have all that we need for a good and successful life. He will not only provide for our daily needs, He will also ensure that we enjoy healing and divine health. Furthermore, in Psalm 81:16, the Psalmist says “He should have fed them also with the finest of wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee”. A mark of our dedication and loyalty is that we are faithful in our tithing and giving. The Bible says, in Malachi 3:10, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it”. Anyone who obeys this injunction will reap the benefits of giving.
Among the blessings we receive by being dedicated and loyal to the Lord are a new heart (Eze. 11:19), spiritual rest (Matt. 11:28), the gift of the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13), eternal life (John 10:28), crown of life (Rev. 2:10), a new name (Rev. 3:12), peace and joy among others. Seeking first His kingdom and righteousness guarantees us all other things of life now and in eternity (Matt. 6:33).
Daily Living Application:
Dedication and loyalty are two characteristics that believers must have in order to realize our full potentials in God. Dedication refers to our commitment to Him, while loyalty speaks of our obedience and submission to His authority. These make us to be appreciated in His presence as well as have unlimited access to Him. In this position, He guarantees the supply of all our needs and help in times of troubles. When we are dedicated to the Lord, we have peace and joy and He promises to heal our sickness and disease. Thus, dedication and loyalty attract God’s blessings.
As believers, God expects us to show our loyalty and dedication to Him and in doing His will. This involves having a personal devotional lifestyle, participating in soul winning activities, doing good to others, performing all our civic duties, and being fruitful in the area of service that He has entrusted into our care. We cannot be dedicated and loyal to God if we are not dedicated to our spouses and all members of our family. In fact, our commitment to God is best reflected in the way we comport ourselves at home and in our immediate community. God also does not accept a half-hearted believer. In other words, we cannot attempt to carry out acts of dedication without us being loyal to Him.
Matthew 22:37 “Jesus said unto him, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind”.
Daily Devotional Guide:
Monday: Be dedicated and loyal to the Lord.
2 Chron. 25:2, Mal. 3:10, Mark 7:6
Tuesday: Showing dedication and loyalty in our personal and devotional life.
Ezra 7:10, 2 Tim. 2:15
Wednesday: Showing dedication and loyalty in evangelism.
Mark 16:15, Jam. 1:27, Heb. 10:25
Thursday: Showing dedication and loyalty in our marriage and home.
Eph. 5:21-33, 2 Cor. 12:14, 1 Tim. 5:8, Tit. 2:4
Friday: Showing dedication and loyalty in our civic responsibilities.
Rom. 13:1-7, 1 Tim. 2:1-4
Saturday: Blessings for the dedicated and loyal believer to the Lord.
Exo. 23:25, Isa. 56:4-5, Matt. 6:2-3, John 10:28