2 Timothy 4:10 …for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world…
Paul, the battled scarred veteran of so many years of spiritual conflict writes from a damp prison cell to Timothy, his protegé.
In the midst of the encouragement and advice and instruction concerning the end time scenario to come, he bears his heart concerning the loss of his friend and fellow minister, Demas.
The hurt bleeds through the simple words on the page.
Demas who had stood with Paul and served the gospel along with the great apostle, had now for whatever reason deserted his mentor, and it seems had deserted Christ.
One of the greatest pains that a believer has to endure is to see someone fall from the faith. A friend, confidante and brother or sister in Christ leaves the path and wanders off into a barren future, devoid of the fellowship of the Saviour.
Over the thirty years I have been following Jesus, I’ve seen so many, TOO many, abandon the faith and walk off into the sunset of apostasy. Sometimes they have been dear friends, We had worshipped together, shared from the scriptures what God was speaking, seen each other through trials, victories and heartaches. But now, when and if there is a chance meeting there is no life, no fellowship and no spiritual companionship.
Demas… the names change but the pain’s the same.
It’s different if a faithful follower of our mutual Saviour leaves our side to follow their calling. They may have changed location but the heart connection remains. But when they have loved this present age and it’s not their bodies that have changed location but their heart, it is a deep spiritual wound.
David felt this when he wrote in Psalm 41 about the enemies who devised evil against him and plotted his downfall and then with a choked voice in vs 9 “Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.”
The LORD put this in scripture for those who lose friends in the faith to apostasy. And so often the one who was a beloved friend in the faith becomes a sworn enemy when they lose their devotion to Christ. The one who once gave strength now mocks. He who once gave godly advice now wants us to stumble. The one who stood near, now stands afar off with scorn and derision.
Oh Demas. What happened to your zeal and faith and love. What in this present age could be so attractive that you would give up eternity for it. What short-term goal, what demonic deception, what cherished sin could induce you to give up your inheritance in Christ.
Oh Demas. You walked with God and now you stumble along the path to destruction.
Demas, Demas. Is it too late? Are you so far gone? Does the name of the LORD no longer bring a warming of your heart? Do you ever think of your previous life?… Your love for the Word?… Your insights into the scriptures?… Your desire to share your faith?… Your concern for the saints?… The things you endured and the One you enjoyed!??.
How did the devil take you captive? What lies did you listen to? What earthly desire overtook your heavenly passion?
Demas, I miss you. I grieve for you. I know I can knock on your door or pick up a phone and we can share words. But the Demas I knew is no longer present. The words are lifeless and no longer Spirit-filled. I can meet you in this life, but Demas it’s in the life to come that I wish to walk with you again.
Demas we are in the last days. The march of history is coming to an end. Jesus IS coming soon. Now is not the time to give up. If there is any spark of faith left, call upon Him. He is merciful. He is able to bring you back. For I too nearly fell. I stumbled. I also took my eyes off the King. But He brought me back. He forgave. He restored. What He did for me, He can do for you.
For those who have endured the grief of a Demas, my heart is with you. A child, a parent, a spouse, a friend who you once shared sweet counsel with. A companion, an acquaintance who walked the divine path with you and now reproaches and despises your faith. (Psalm 55:12-14) Take a leaf from Paul’s example. He carried on in the work. He did not allow this greatest of griefs to disable him. He fixed His eyes on Jesus who, even though God in the flesh, also knew the pain of betrayal by a friend. And it’s not the personal betrayal that concerns us but the loss of a brother or sister in the Lord.
Stay firm, stay strong, stay close to Christ. He will bring comfort from His throne room. And you will in time be able to comfort others with the comfort you have received from Him.
Father, I pray for the Demas’, I commend them into Your trustworthy hands. I do ask you to grant repentance and restoration. Father I pray too for those who are suffering under the loss of a brother or sister in Christ. Grant them, grant us, strength to not let grief hobble our service to You. In the Name of Christ the Head of the church and the strong Son of God.