Why do some professing Christ-followers call it “quits” on the faith? What happens that changes them from diligent workers for the kingdom of God to opponents of the gospel?
In Paul’s closing verses of Philemon he lists five fellow workers before he pronounces a final benediction on his dear friend.
“Epaphras, my fellow prisoner for Christ Jesus, sends you greetings. And so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my fellow workers.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.”
Demas, one of Paul’s ‘fellow workers’ – a colleague in gospel ministry, a sharer in the calling of being witnesses to Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, Judea & Samaria and to the ends of the earth. It sounds wonderful, but then we read 2 Timothy 4:9,10 where Paul exhorts Timothy “Do your best to come to me quickly, for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thesssalonica……”
Over my years in serving Christ, sadly, I’ve seen the same thing. Young adults, perhaps at times “over zealous” but keenly appearing to be engaged in ministry preparation are enrolled in training. Then something happens and suddenly they lose sight of the goal, they doubt their faith and at times turn their back on their Master giving way to evil desires. Pastoral leaders, likewise, who once preached the message of truth with clarity and an apparent “anointing” allowing “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life,” to sidetrack them. As Paul wrote to the Galatians, “You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?” (Galatians 5:7)
Leadership is a dangerous calling. Scripture clearly warns about recruiting and promoting ‘novices’ lest they be taken out by the temptations inherent to the task! Experienced leaders are not immune to Satanic assault and may just as easily “plant seeds” which will result in their own destruction.
On this eve of another year of training, I covet your prayers. Pray…I mean PRAY for your leaders. Pray for protection! Pray for discernment! Pray for holiness! Pray for a fresh cleansing by the blood of Christ!
How tragic when over another life are written the words, “…._________, because he loved this world, has deserted me…..!” It wouldn’t be the first time someone cried out, “I quit!”