Demas Loved This World

By no means a major character in the New Testament, Demas haunts me as the person I don’t want to follow.

Paul mentions Demas briefly in three of his letters. The first two, Colossians 4:14 and Philemon 1:24, identify Demas as Paul’s companion and co-worker during Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome. The final mention of Demas, during Paul’s second imprisonment, tells a different story. Written to Timothy, shortly before Paul’s execution, these words call for our attention,

“Do your best to come to me quickly, for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica” 2 Timothy 4:10

This brief mention of Demas tells us what he did, and why he did it. He deserted Paul. The word means, to abandon, forsake, defect, to leave one in the lurch. After years of faithful service to Paul and the cause of the gospel, he turned his back and left.

Why? Because he loved this world.

Oh, the dangers of loving the world! The apostle John warns, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever” 1 John 2:15-17.

John tells us not to set our affections on fleeting things. James also warns us, “don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God” James 4:4.

I recognize this as an area of vulnerability in me. I admit my weakness for things. Too many episodes on HGTV lure me into believing that I’d be more fulfilled after a remodeling project. Ya, right! My experience, however, tells me that I’ve had multiple remodeling projects over the years and every one of them fades quickly. Even before the paint dries, another want surfaces. Distractions from loving and serving God lie in wait to ambush me.

The world tantalizes all of us, though we may have different areas we’re susceptible to. We face choices each day to follow the example of Demas, to abandon our first love and pursue a life less worthy. I guard my heart against loving the things of the world, by memorizing Scripture, praying honest prayers, and limiting my exposure to the enticements of the world.

How are you guarding your heart?

3 comments to Demas Loved This World

  • sheila payne

    How do you handle news and world events in general? I struggle with whether I should listen to be an informed woman or not listen so I am not feeling so negative about our country and all the turmoil going on around us. For example, yesterday listening to the Palestinian leader talk about how Israel was at fault for the deaths of Palestinian citizens. They blamed Israel for everything even though Israel did not fire until fired upon. It is upsetting but is it important to know?

    • Hi Sheila, That’s a very sincere and important question. I personally believe its our responsibility to know what’s going on in the world so that we can speak truth into the situation. God’s Word is relevant to everything that’s going on. When we don’t stay informed about what is happening in the world, we appear out of touch with reality. Jesus spoke into the culture and we must also. Yes, it can be discouraging, but take heart Jesus has overcome the world by bringing light into the darkness. Thank you for your question.

  • Richie

    II Timothy is one of “my books”. Each time I recite it and come to that line about Demas’s desertion, I feel a dark heaviness for Paul and take it as a warning for myself. I must remember time and again that the world and it’s desires pass away and that I need to keep my eyes on the prize. Recalling that this world will soon not exist tends to loosen its grip on me and shift my focus to what will remain…God and his word and eternity in his presence.