Demas is mentioned three times in the New Testament. In Colossians and Philemon, Paul refers to him as a fellow worker in the Gospel. However, in 2 Timothy, we witness a heartbreaking turn of events in Demas' race of faith when Paul says, ". . . Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me" (2 Timothy 4:10).
Demas began right, but he ended wrong. As Paul's fellow worker in the Gospel, we can probably assume that he began his race with great spiritual fervor, diligence, and determination. However, near the end of Paul's life, Demas decided to pursue worldly success rather than serve the living Christ. He chose the world's passing pleasures over the glory of God, the seen for the unseen. Paul was anxious to exhort Timothy to avoid falling into the same trap.
Paul—an imperfect person like us—was able to finish well because he relied on God's moment-by-moment faithfulness.
Throughout his life, Paul saw many abandon the call of Christ for lesser things. Many times, he stood alone in his devotion to God's work. Yet throughout imprisonments, beatings, and outright desertion—things we may never experience for our faith in Christ—Paul was able to say, "But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed" (2 Timothy 4:17). Although Paul stood alone, God provided for him in his moments of deepest need. Paul—an imperfect person like us—was able to finish well because he relied on God's moment-by-moment faithfulness.
The apostle Paul's final encouragement to Timothy can be summarized in this: Be strong, Timothy. Don't ever give up. Even if you stand alone, keep fighting for the Truth. Don't stop running the race. Keep fixing your eyes on Christ.
Knowing his time was drawing near, Paul was able to say with confidence, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7). As we trust in Christ and run the race until the end, let our response be the same.
Prayer: Lord, I want to serve You faithfully until the end. Help me to stand strong even if I stand alone. Help me rely on Your power when I am tempted to slow down. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7).