At the end of his letter to the Colossians, Paul sends greetings from the members of his team in ministry. Tychicus, Onesimus, Aristarchus, Epaphras, etc. (if you’re looking for baby names, look no further). While each name represents a life and a story, one in particular represents a warning to you and me: Demas.
In verse 14, Paul writes,
“Luke the beloved physician greets you, as does Demas.”
At this point, Demas is a faithful associate of Paul working alongside him in Rome with guys like Luke and Mark (who wrote the gospels that bear their name). Needless to say, this is pretty good company, and it seems like all is well.
But the last thing we hear about Demas in the New Testament is not good, and it comes a few years later, in 2 Timothy 4:10. Paul, writing to his close friend Timothy, says the following:
“Do your best to come to me soon. For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica.”
We don’t have all the information, and ultimately we don’t know whether Demas was reconciled to Paul. But we do know why Demas left—he fell in love with this present world. At some point in time along the way, Demas took his eyes off of Jesus. He got distracted from the mission. In his heart, he came to prize the material and the temporary over the spiritual and eternal. And it cost him.
Christian, don’t fall in love with this present world. Yes, your new house is beautiful. But 100 years from now you’ll be dead, and your new house will probably be torn down. Yes, your new car is impressive. A decade from now you’ll probably have a different one. Yes, the pornography, the affair, and sex before marriage all look enticing. But in the end they lead to death (Proverbs 14:12). Yes, money can buy you many things. But how many tragic examples do we need before we realize that joy and riches aren’t related?
This present world is passing away, along with all its desires (1 John 2:17). Why give yourself to it? Instead, give yourself wholly to the One who is eternal, immortal, and before and after all things (1 Timothy 1:17). Jesus is everlasting, his love is never ending, and he is worth so much more than anything and everything this world has to offer.
If you love him, and are right now following well, keep going. Learn from Demas, and don’t become lazy or careless, and don’t let your eyes, or your heart, wander as they are prone to do. Keep your eyes fixed fast on Jesus Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith, and keep running well the race set before you (Hebrews 12:1-2). There are sure to be many distractions, and the world has much it would offer us. But take heart, for Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33).