The biblical list of people who started their race with the Godhead (God/Jesus/Holy Spirit) is significant; not anywhere near the majority of people, but a sizable number. Among those “starters”, there are several who either finished poorly or not at all; “quitters”.
His name was Demas. He is only mentioned in 3 scriptures.
Col 4:13-14 For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis. 14 Luke the beloved physician greets you, as does Demas.
Philemon 23-24 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you greetings. 24And so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my fellow workers.
2 Tim 4:9-10 Do your best to come to me quickly, 10for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica.
Paul wrote Colossians and Philemon at the same time (60 AD) and because Philemon was a member of the church at Colossae, he had Tychicus deliver both letters at the same time. Demas is described as a “fellow worker” of Paul in Philemon, a preacher in good standing. In Colossians he is listed side by side with Luke; hardly an insignificant achievement. Knowing Paul’s intensity in his ministry, receiving a thumbs-up from him was certainly not the easiest thing to accomplish; Demas did.
Then 4-5 yrs pass before Paul writes this in his second letter to Timothy: “Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica.” 2 Tim 4:10
Why did Demas fall from being Paul’s “fellow worker”? Because he sold his heart to Satan and “loved this world”. Conclusion? 1 Jn 2:15 “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” Jam 4:4 “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
Demas went from being a “fellow worker” with the final Christ-appointed apostle, to being an “enemy of God”, void of any love for God. Quite a fall, huh. In earthly terms, his fall was like tumbling from the top of Mount Everest to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. He fell from being a saved, committed follower and faithful preacher of Jesus Christ, to a life as a “lover of the world” and an “enemy of God.”
And all this happened in a space of 4-5 years.
So what is the lesson for those of us who love the LORD today? Our love and faithful service to Jesus today, DOES NOT guarantee that we will love Him and be serving Him each day in 4-5 yrs. That requires: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Lk 9:23 Notice is says DAILY! Die to self each day and re-surrender to Jesus as our LORD. DAILY!
In Colossians 4 Paul lists 10 of his “fellow workers.” The Scriptures only mention Demas as one who fell away from Christ. As far as we know, the other 9 were faithful to the end and finished their race well. The 9 should encourage us, but Demas better serve as a warning.
Our race, like any race, has a starting line and a finish line. Both are important. Without that initial surrender to Christ as our LORD, our eternity is doomed. But if we start our race well, only to give up or wander away, our eternity will be equally doomed.
It is those who FINISH the race, with Christ as LORD, who receive the crown of righteousness. 2 Tim 4:7-8 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” God bless.