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Watch Your Love of This Present World

February 27, 2012

I love a lot of things in this world. Some days, (actually most days)…it is probably a bit too much. I love the feeling of buying something new. Most times it doesn’t matter what it is…just that it is new. I also love the praise of man. My blood pressure drops and the endorphins kick in every time someone pats me on the back for a job well done. Are these things necessarily bad? Is it wrong for me to enjoy things in this world? Of course not! What we must watch, though, is when the love of things replaces a love of God. This happened to one of Paul’s associates, Demas. It is a sad story, really, and one you have to pay attention to get as your read through the Pauline epistles.

I would imagine that to become a part of the traveling team with Paul, you had to be pretty committed to the cause. Food was scarce, extra people on journeys increased the likelihood of someone coming down sick, and when the Gospel is at stake…the people you choose to work is no small matter. Demas was a man Paul felt was worthy of this honor. He must have met the qualifications put forth in 1 Timothy 3 for an elder.

In Philemon 24, we find that Demas was among Mark, Luke, and other faithful men who traveled with Paul. This is also the case in Colossians 4:14 where Demas sends greetings to the Colossian church. Both of these letters were written in AD 60-63. Clearly we are not given much information about Demas, but we can infer that he was a man of character, one who loved the word of God, and was on mission for the church to spread to the ends of the earth.

Then, something happened. By the year AD 67, Paul was writing 2 Timothy. There he writes, “Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica.” (4:10) What happened? 4 years earlier he was a servant worthy of mention in letters with the ability to travel with Paul and now his love for the world swallowed him up so much that he had no interest in ministry.

This happens in the church to this day. People who are on fire for Christ one minute, and extinguished the next. What gives? This world has an intoxicating allure to it. It will suck you in if you leave yourself unchecked. The pursuit of sex, money, acclaim, and titles will leave you empty spiritually. You cannot love both God and money (Matthew 6:24).

So, what is the remedy? Daily devotion to Jesus only (read Psalm 1). The things of this world are nice, but your devotion is to the work of Christ alone. Money is good…but only insomuch as it frees you for devotion to Jesus and binds the want of it. Brothers and sisters, do not get trapped in thinking this world is all there is. The only remedy for this is to say with Paul, “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him.” (Philippians 3:8-9).

Let us look to the hope that we have in Christ in this lifetime, but also in life the one to come when we will be raised in glorified bodies to a state of pleasure and enjoyment in Christ we never knew possible.

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