A Tragic Love Affair

William C. Brownson

Read: 2 Timothy 4:9-15

Do your best to come to me soon. For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. (vv. 9-10)

Though Paul has no regrets about his ministry, he is not with- out pain and sorrow. What hurts him most deeply is the loss of close friends. We don’t know why Crescens and Titus have gone away—perhaps sent on some errand of ministry, as Tychicus was. But Demas, Paul writes, has deserted him.

Demas had been mentioned in two of the apostle’s other letters as a “fellow worker,” along with Luke, “the beloved physician” (Colossians 4:14; Philemon 1:24). This man Demas had apparently been in Paul’s inner circle, and now has turned his back on an imprisoned friend.

Paul laments this desertion most deeply because of the reason for it: being “in love with this present world.” Demas loves Paul no longer. He has found a new affection. He has succumbed to the spirit of the age and become a worldling.

The apostle knows that love for Christ and for “the world” or “world system” cannot coexist in any heart. They are mutually exclusive (see John 15:18-25; 1 John 2:15-17). Not only has Paul lost a friend; he fears that Jesus has lost a faithful follower. For those who love the Lord, can any loss be more grievous than that? —Bill Brownson

As you pray, ask the Lord to prevent you from caving in to any temptation to betray him or fellow believers, but instead to love him with all you are and have.