A couple of months ago, I was finishing 2 Timothy, when the following words caught my attention:
Do your best to come to me soon. For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica.
(2 Tim 4:9-10)
I have, on prior occasions, read these verses without paying much attention to them. Yet, this time, I was led to stop and ponder about Demas, previously noted in Philemon and Colossians among Paul's trusted companions. What happened to Demas, I wonder?
How did he go from a trusted fellow worker to a deserter?
How was he in love with this present world? Was it a love of money or an unwillingness to bear up under persecution ... or perhaps something else altogether?
Did he always harbor a faithlessness or was it some special test that exposed his love of the world?
I'm sobered by Demas. We're not told much about him but it's a hint of a cautionary tale - to hold fast our faith to the end, rather than coasting our way to the finish line. It's a reminder that there are many pitfalls along the way. For some, it's the pursuit of wealth and the pleasure that pose a challenge. For others, it's placing hope and security in their (401)K and hard earned savings, rather than in the Eternal God. A successful professional might be tempted to treasure the significance and accolades they experience at work above all else.
What does it look like in your life to "love this present world" and how do you fight to mortify its influence?
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.