The New Year That Went Bad

…Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed into Thessalonica…” II Timothy 4:10

The year A.D. 66 was definitely not a good year for Demas. It was in that year he forsook the will of God – the blessings of God. He also forsook Paul, the faithful servant of God. He forsook these treasures for a thing called “the world.” When the year began, did Demas plan to backslide and go into the world? Probably not. Did Demas take preventative measures to keep from going astray? Again, probably not.

What was it that Demas so loved in this world that he would forsake the ministry and his good friend? Was it a woman who captured his attention? Was it a business opportunity and the financial gain it promised that he just couldn’t pass up? Was it the glamour and glitter of the world that captured the desires of his flesh? Was it the easy life the world offered as opposed to the cross Christ demanded? We are not specifically told. And for good reason, because we are dealing with a principle, not an isolated and specific issue.

There are some Biblical principles Demas had either neglected or purposely violated. First, he did not heed what the Bible teaches about the world, that is, this world’s system. The world hates Christ and Christians (John 15:18-25). The world is at enmity with Christ (James 4:4). We are not to love the world, neither the things in the world (I John 2:15).

Secondly, Demas fell into the trap of only considering the temporal, not the eternal. Notice the reference “this present world.”

Someday, this present world will be destroyed – nothing this present world produces can ever last for eternity. God calls this present world “evil” (Galatians 1:4), and He wants to deliver us from it. We look forward to the new “world to come” (Hebrews 6:5).

Finally, Demas had his focus on the wrong things. We are to set our “affections on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1-2). Where our treasure is, there will our heart be also (Matthew 6:21). Demas did not lose his love for God, he left his love for God (Revelation 2:4). He allowed his affections to wander and as a result, his love grew cold.

We must be disciplined and keep our attention fixed on Christ. I trust that this year will be a great year for you and for me, and that we will finish the year for God – better than we began it.

Pastor David Harness Sr.