When Did Jesus Stop Being Enough?: The Selfie and the Present World

I’m sorry it took so long to get this up. School has started and it has been insanely busy for us here at JNN. Thank you for being patient! You guys are awesome! That said, I hope you guys enjoy this latest installment!

– Derek

I’ve sat in circles with people my age and heard them talk about “how things should be done”. Honestly, I join in, because I have a strong opinion since I am a pastor’s son. However, many of these circles can turn into bashing sessions where we condemn things our leaders say and do. I always cringe at this, because sure maybe things aren’t going how they should. Sure, they may have said something that we didn’t like, or something that may have been an odd way of saying what they meant to say. However, where do we get off bashing our leaders? It shows a lack of submission to authority, and these same people want to be strongly used by God? God uses people for His kingdom who are submitted.

Our leaders are there to guide us. They are there to bring us closer to God. Paul had many young men follow him. He had Mark, Barnabas, Silas, and Luke (just to name a few). He also had one young man named Demas. However, Demas left, and I often wonder about Demas and why he done it. He followed a hero of our faith who spoke with power and authority.

2 Timothy 4:10 (NKJV)

“for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica—Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia.”

Why did Demas leave? What happened between he and Paul? Or what did he see in the world that enticed him?

Demas’ name means “popular”. So, his name implies he comes from a well known family. It is assumed that Thessalonica is Demas’ home, so, he would have returned to his home. Thus, returning to his popularity, riches, and status. Maybe he returns to the career or school he was in before he started following Paul.

Maybe he’s looking around Rome and seeing all of the opportunity for self promotion. It’s the height of the Roman empire. The possibilities are endless for a young male who is a citizen of Rome. He could become immensely rich, but he’s a Christian, and being a Christian was not popular in that day. So this could hamper his self promoting, self-gratifying desires.

Maybe he doesn’t think he’s leaving Christianity at all. Maybe he believes he’s doing the right thing. Possibly, he and Paul have a disagreement over how to conduct or carry out matters in the church. Maybe he just wants power over a group of people, so, he leaves Paul to do his own thing. He has delusions of grandeur about having some kind of power over people. Could it have been that Paul scolded him, as was in Paul’s nature, about how he said or done something and Demas got hurt and offended? So, he left for home to live out his life in secrecy from the Roman government. Whatever it was, it was no small matter which separated Demas from Paul.

In all three situations, Demas is not right. It obvious that Demas purpose is not Jesus and Him crucified. His purpose wasn’t to follow Jesus. It was to be in front of Jesus. It was to make himself look good to show everyone who he was. He’s definitely a fan of Jesus, but he’s just not very committed to the team. Jesus was definitely part of Demas’ life, but Jesus wasn’t Demas’ whole life. Deep inside of him there was always this desire for his popularity, riches, status, power, and himself.

We like  to quote John the Baptist in saying, “He must increase, and I decrease.” But, does it really happen? Take a selfie of yourself right now, spiritually, and ask yourself if the person in the picture is reflecting “He must increase, and I decrease”. Is it really about him? Or are you just a fan? Jesus should not be part of our lives. He should not be just 75% of the head of our lives. He shouldn’t be 90% the leader. He should not be part of our lives. Jesus should be our lives. If we’ve really found the “love that is greater than life itself”, why are we only giving Jesus 70% of our lives? Why are we focused on gaining our image and not gaining His image? We are so focused on our selfie that we can’t focus on reflecting the image of God.

Demas was so focused on gaining on earth, whether it be wealth, popularity, or power. The heritage and perception he had was more important to him than the heritage which God was calling him to and the perception of Christ. We are so focused on gaining on earth that we forget to live is Christ and to die is gain. We get so focused on a confederate flag that we forget it’s not about our southern heritage; it’s about the heritage of Christ. We get so focused on a rainbow flag that we never once stop to think about the rainbow around God’s throne.

It isn’t enough for us to focus on the heritage of Christ or the throne of God. No, we have to focus on everything going on around us… just as Demas. We have to see what we can put ourselves in, what we want. Jesus isn’t enough for us, because although we go to church, we still have a desire for the world. There is one foot in the world, and the other foot is in the church. Then, the line we are standing over, what happens to it? We try to blur it or skew it. You cannot be on the line, on the fence, or lukewarm. Either Jesus is enough or He isn’t. The line is either very clear or nonexistent to us.

I love my generation. We are some of the smartest, most creative, and gifted people to walk this planet in history, but if we are ever going to truly make an impact, we cannot be like Demas. Demas blurred the lines, he was enticed, and he ran. He was focused on himself. His selfie. He wanted to put a filter over it so that whatever God was actually trying to do, no one else could see. He altered the image God was calling him to, to fit his image, but God doesn’t change. God was calling him and trying to set him apart from the world, but to Demas, Jesus just wasn’t enough.

He loved this present world. The word Paul uses for “this present world” is a word which we derive “eon” from. Meaning it was the time he lived in. It wasn’t the geography. It was the enjoyment, the opportunity for self-promotion and self-gratification.

Do you love this present world with all of it’s distractions, opportunities, and enjoyment? Or is Jesus really enough for you