The Deserter

We’re winding up our study of Colossians and in our final section of the book we find many heroes of the faith, but there is also a deserter. His name is tucked into Col. 4:14 as he sends out greetings to the Colossians. Here we see him standing next to Paul, serving in ministry with him, but soon he will desert his post.

When we think of a deserter, the name Beau Bergdahl may come to mind. This young man walked away from his post, his unit, his commitment, and his nation. Not only did he walk away from the fight, he decided to join the enemy! While all of the details have not been disclosed (and may never be), this much we know: the enemy he sought to aid eventually took him hostage.

The spiritual lesson in this story is this: When you are aiding and abetting the enemy of your own soul. You will eventually become its captor.

Although we don’t have all the details, one thing that we do know is, one day Demas left. He walked away. By his actions he said: “This is not worth it. Forget it. I’m out of here.”

“For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia.” (2 Timothy 4:10)

The world’s pull is strong . . . very strong. The phrase “in love with this present world” clues us in on what led Demas to defect. We don’t know his background, but we do know that Demas was drawn away from Christ by the allure of the world.

Earlier in 2 Timothy Paul refers to “lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God” (2 Tim. 3:4) and also spoke of those who were “lovers of their own selves (2 Tim. 3:2). The real issue in Demas deserting his post was not the hardship of following Christ, or the sacrifices made in the service of Christ, it was the issue of his heart. “Demas . . . in love with” that short phrase tells the whole story. What we love, we follow. What we love, we will live for. What we love, we will return to. What or who we love governs our thinking, emotions, and decisions. (Remember Monday’s post?)

Why was Demas in love with the world? Because he loved himself most of all. Why did he love the world? Because his love for Christ was superficial, skin deep, and secondary to his love for self. Loving the wrong person is why Demas was a deserter.

Paul’s love for Christ stands in stark contrast to Demas’ love for self. May God hold our hearts, keep our hearts in the love of Christ! May not one of us be known as a “deserter.”

The final section of Colossians chapter four is filled with Paul’s mention of several people: lovers of God surrounding one deserter. Yesterday I listed several of these and today I have more. I encourage you to do some research to develop a brief bio for each individual. Include other Scripture references where they are mentioned.

  1. Epaphras:
  1. Luke:
  1. Demas:
  1. Nympha:
  1. Archippus:

What lessons can we learn from these individuals?

Personal Note: Thank you to my hubby who contributed to today’s post content!

Image courtesy of vorakorn/


  • Julie Musil

    Kimberly, I haven’t commented much these days, but I’ve definitely been reading and keeping up. I finished chapter 4 last night! Thank you for your in-depth study of this book.

  • Pauline Butler

    Kim, this post captures so well how I’ve been praying for family, church family, and so on. The world’s pull truly is strong and it can be so subtle. How important it is to guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus! I thank you for this study in Colossians. It has been so rich and timely. And thank you to your hubby for his contribution today. I thank my God for you and for His precious Word. Thank you for being a dear friend and sister in Christ.

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, Julie ~

    So glad that you’ve dug into Colossians with me! Thank you for being a “faithful commenter!” Always good to hear from you and love hearing you share how God is at work in your life!

    Blessings, friend ~

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, Pauline ~

    Thank you so much for your kind words of encouragement! What a gift, reading your heart for the Word and your love for others. God hears your prayers for your loved ones, and He delights in prayers that are right in line with His Word. Thank you for taking time to share.

    Blessings, friend ~