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.

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).

Check out more from Dr. Michael Youssef, here!

About The Author

Dr. Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Even before he was born, it is clear that God had a vision for Michael Youssef. His mother was in poor health when she became pregnant with Michael, and because his life was in danger at the time of birth, the doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. An abortion was scheduled. But God intervened and sent the family pastor to reassure them that God was involved in this pregnancy. He told them not to be afraid and that the child would be "born to serve the Lord." Michael's parents accepted the pastor's message as a message from God and obeyed. His mother gave birth, and lived to see him give his life to the Lord at the age of sixteen.

Believing that God had called him out of Egypt, Michael sought an exit visa in a time in which no university student was allowed to have a passport or leave the country. God intervened again, and miraculously he managed to acquire a visa. He immigrated to Australia, where he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, was ordained as a pastor, and met Elizabeth who became his wife.

The Youssefs came to America in 1977, and in 1978 Michael received a master's degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. Then he earned a doctorate in social anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael served nearly ten years in the Haggai Institute, traveling around the world more than 32 times, teaching courses in evangelism and leadership. He rose to the position of Managing Director at the age of 31 years. The family settled in Atlanta, and in 1984, Michael became a citizen of the United States, making his dream of many years come true.

He founded The Church of The Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adults with the mission of "Equipping the Saints and Searching for the Lost". The church has since grown to be a congregation of over 3,000 people today. This church has driven the international ministry of Leading the Way. While it is heard by millions at home and abroad, behind every message preached through radio waves, is the heart of a pastor, willing to nurture and care for these people. Clearly God has uniquely equipped Dr. Youssef to speak to a global audience. The path he has taken has given him an understanding and firm grasp of the Scriptures that transcend cultures. He preaches, teaches and calls with a sincere, based on the authority of the inerrant, inspired Word of God. With his personal knowledge of the Holy Land, its history and culture, Dr. Michael Youssef transmits life to listeners all over the world.

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