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Tuesday, June 5, 2012 | Comments (5)

by John MacArthur

In leadership and in life, loyalty is one of the great, essential virtues.

We often forget that simple truth in the cynical age in which we live. Our society is so rife with corrupt leaders and so hostile to the concept of authoritative truth that loyalty is often perceived as a weakness rather than a merit. Rebellion and defiance have been canonized as virtues instead. “Who can find a faithful man?” (Proverbs 20:6).

But Scripture exalts loyalty. Loyalty is owed, first of all, to the Lord and to His truth, but also to those who stand for the truth. Second Chronicles 16:9 says, “The eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.”

On the other hand, disloyalty is among the most repugnant of all evils. Judas sinned because he was a traitor. He had no loyalty to Christ, although he had been a privileged friend and close companion for years. No sin in all of Scripture is more despicable than Judas’s traitorous act of treachery. Jesus Himself classed Judas’s wickedness as more wretched than that of Pilate (John 19:11).

What do we mean by loyalty? Authentic loyalty is not blind devotion to a mere man. It is, first of all, an allegiance to truth and duty. But it involves devotion to the obligations of love and friendship as well. It is among the most godly and godlike of virtues, because God Himself is eternally faithful (2 Timothy 2:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:24; 2 Thessalonians 3:3).

That’s why loyalty is essential to leadership. The wise leader cultivates loyalty by being loyal—loyal to the Lord, loyal to the truth, and loyal to the people he leads. Nothing is more destructive to leadership than the leader who compromises his own loyalty.

I have a very hard time hearing criticism of people who are under my leadership, because I am committed in my heart to being loyal to them. My instinct is to defend them. I always seek to give them the benefit of the doubt. My love for them includes an earnest desire to assume the best of them. After all, that is how love is expressed: “Love suffers long and is kind . . . is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:4–7).

Leadership hinges on trust, and trust is cultivated by loyalty. When it comes to godly leadership, the goal for leaders is clear—our hearts have to be in our people, and our people have to be in our hearts.

(Adapted from Called to Lead)


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#1  Posted by Maxwell Otalor  |  Tuesday, June 5, 2012 at 9:24 PM

I first want to thank you John MacArthur for your servitude to the truth and being a vessel for truth representing God in a Godless era.

Leadership hinges on trust. Life in this world trains the sinner to be so self-consumed that authentic leadership becomes tainted and marred. Only the Holy Spirit inside of a man can place him in a position to be selfless in leadership. So many leaders out of ignorance operate from a motive of leadership that surrounds a promotion of self. To be vested in those you are leading on a sincere level and building trust is a task I believe is beyond the task of any man to perform. Divine intervention and a constant seeking for God to assist is essential. This model of leadership discussed by John is one I believe is feasibly uttered than done. With that being said let us still continue to esteem for excellence and perfection as our savior Jesus Christ would demand.

#2  Posted by Marsha Hogan  |  Wednesday, June 6, 2012 at 11:01 AM

Thank you, John, for this encouraging article!

I have always believed that we can trust you in all things, including your discernment with people, because God Himself is in you and we know that it is He whom you long to please. Thank you for always striving to do what is right, by His power, even if it is misunderstood or difficult. I am sure God will reward you for your courage and loyalty to Him and His truth and righteousness!

Indeed we are very grateful to God for you and continue to be blessed much every day by your faithful service and love to Him and to us, His people! May He continue to bless and encourage your heart much as you continue to love and follow Him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength!

For Him and His glory,

Marsha ~ Romans 11:36

#3  Posted by Jairo Reyes  |  Wednesday, June 6, 2012 at 2:14 PM

If you ask me: Of all the teaching I received from John Macarthur (…) What do you remember ?... I would say little or nothing ... But every word from John Macarthur as the voice of God has been delightful lullaby to my life as a Christian - as the mother lulls the baby - and without his teachings would not be the Christian I am today: … so calm and at peace with God. Amen.

Si usted me pregunta: ¿De todas las enseñanzas que he recibido de John Macarthur (...) ¿Qué recuerdo ... Yo diría que poco o nada ... Pero todas las palabras de John Macarthur como la voz de Dios ha sido arrullo agradable para mi vida como cristiano - como la madre arrulla al bebé - y sin sus enseñanzas no sería el cristiano que soy hoy: ... tan tranquilo y en paz con Dios . Amén.

#4  Posted by Greg Begemann  |  Wednesday, June 6, 2012 at 2:43 PM

Pastor John you certainly are someone who has practiced what you preach and the wise words in this article are a great reminder of that! You have been loyal to the Lord, to His Word, to the flock God has given you. You have been relentless and faithful to teach Truth not only to the visible flock you lead but also to us invisible sheep across the miles. For more than 16 years you have been a teacher, mentor, pastor, shepherd to me and you don't even know me. You remind me so much of Paul! From your personal testimony, to how you faithfully serve in the ministry God has given you, you are absolutely a modern day apostle Paul! You certainly have his spirit of faithful, humble, loyal, service. Your strength and stand for the truth has been a beacon of light to me over the years. I came out of a legalistic, shallow circle where over and over I witnessed congregations of people blindly follow arrogant, domineering, manipulating, talented preachers who put on dynamic performances, generating big crowds, big buildings, big money, big names--for themselves--all for themselves. The result was always the same they would eventually be caught up in immorality or theft or whatever. Amazingly, people keep on following people like that, falling for the same satanic scheme again and again. I want you to know that God used you to lead me and my family out of that oppressive arena. Like a starving sheep wandering about searching for food God led us to the "green pastures" of your teaching. Truth--always Truth--nothing but Truth! My family and I have feasted on it now for some time and I thank you. You cannot know know the impact you have had. As a sunday school Bible teacher myself, you were my only human encouragement for years as I just kept on teaching Truth in a church where a dictatorial type pastor persecuted me greatly for it. Now, after years of preparing me, God has recently given me a flock of His to shepherd (in Alabama-your favorite state!ha!). Not surprisingly, they are a small remnant of believers who have suffered through a string of imposters like the kind described above, and stood strong. They are hungry for Truth and now they are being fed! Praise our great Shepherd! I know now why God had me in that situation those years. Pray for us as we move forward to worship Him together, serve Him, and stand for Truth. We are all so excited to obey God--to submit to His plan and be a part of what He is doing in His Kingdom! Thank you pastor John! 1 Cor 15:58

#5  Posted by Eli Jackson  |  Wednesday, June 6, 2012 at 11:00 PM

John, your example of loyalty and faithfulness as well as the example the rest of the faithful shepherds at Grace Community Church display is one of absolute reverence for Christ and a true love for His beloved church. I agree with the last post from Greg in saying that you all live Phil. 3:17 where Paul says: "Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us". As one who as a youth did not have a male figure in life to pattern myself after, it is very important for me even today to see a life lived for Christ fleshed out by faithful men. Paul showed us how to follow Christ in Scripture, and you show us how to follow the man that followed Christ, so that those we influence for Christ will follow us as we follow the men who follow the man who followed Christ.