October 30, 2009

Faith vs Loyalty

Therefore Thomas, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, "Let us also go, so that we may die with Him." John 11:16 (NASB)

A passage from John leading up to the miracle with Lazarus, it is the response of Thomas to Jesus' intention to go back into Judea even though there were men there looking to kill Him (the apostles were right but did not yet understand). As I read the statement of Thomas, I wonder what is in it: is Thomas faithful or is he loyal? He is clearly willing to follow Jesus, to loyally go into the jaws of death (at least that is what he says here, future events would argue otherwise). But is he faithful, does he believe that what Jesus is proposing is the will of God, and that the outcome will be as He wills? Does he believe what Jesus is proposing to do is right? What is his declaration of willingness to die with Jesus based on? Faith? Loyalty? Resignation?

To me loyalty is not necessarily faithfulness. We can do an action out of a loyalty to something and yet not believe in it deeply in our hearts. Is that possible to do with God? Can we be loyal to follow act of some feeling of obligation or duty, but not truly believe in faith? We know the doubts Thomas had about a resurrection appearance of Jesus, was he truly trusting Christ in faith before he experienced Christ himself?
After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, "Peace be with you." Then He said to Thomas, "Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing." Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed." John 20:26-29 (NASB)
OK, enough about Thomas, his motives and heart. What I see a need to do think about my own behavior, to always check my response to God, to ensure I am moving forward in faith first. For if I do, the loyalty to Him will surely follow along. To say you follow the Lord requires faith to be sincere.

Are you sure you are just not appearing loyal to the eyes of men, but are truly faithful to the heart of God? I think I need a gut check on this daily to keep me on The Narrow Road.

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