Deserted and Alone

The following is Paul’s testimony of the kinds of things that happened to him while he was serving the Lord in ministry. Now, we may not relate to these specific situations, and we definitely do not know these people, since they lived a very long time ago, but we all have our own set of people in our lives, and our own set of experiences we can relate to that may be similar to ones he went through, so let’s look at this and see what we can learn from it:

2 Timothy 4:9-12 ESV

“Do your best to come to me soon. For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry. Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus.”

Now, if you are a true follower of Jesus Christ, as was Paul, and if you are walking in holiness and righteousness, and not in sin, in obedience to the Lord, and so you are also sharing the truth of the gospel, and not the lies, you are going to be rejected and deserted even by those who claim to love you, and even by those professing faith in Christ, and even by pastors, and even by some or all of your family members. For most today are in love with this present world and so they are rejecting holy and godly living.

And sometimes you are going to feel all alone, although you are not completely alone. But from a human standpoint, regarding having other humans there to show you love and support, they may be minimal to none. For in today’s Christian culture, at least here in America, those who are teaching holiness and righteousness and godly living are rare as are those who are teaching against deliberate and habitual sin. And so many professing Christians are being convinced that the lie is the truth.

2 Timothy 4:14-16 ESV

“Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message. At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them!”

So, again, if you are following Jesus with your life in doing what God has called you to do, you are going to have people who will desert you. But then you may also have people who will vehemently oppose you, or who will do so in a sneaky and underhanded way. I have experienced both.

I can still recall that man (professing Christian) who was a friend of ours standing in my living room yelling at me and telling me I needed to follow the majority because the majority is right, and that because I was in the minority, I was wrong. For he was rejecting the biblical truth that I was sharing, for he found it offensive. And I can recall two friends (professing Christians) publicly declaring that I should be put to death because they would not accept the biblical truth that I was sharing on the internet.

And then there were those who used lies and deception in order to get their way and in order to dismiss me and to oppose me, and some of them were pastors of “churches.” And some would cover up their rejection of me with some kind of smooth talk which was supposed to convince me that they were really interested in what was best for me, while they were still dismissing me and sending me away. One of their favorite phrases was to tell me that it would be best if I went someplace else where I would be a “better fit.”

So some people will harm us in sneaky and underhanded ways while others will harm us by being outwardly and verbally hateful and abusive. But no matter how we are treated, we are to keep following the Lord Jesus in obedience, and we are to keep pressing on in doing the work of the Lord, and we must forgive those who intentionally do us harm. But if they who oppose us are a danger to others, we can warn others against them, provided we are in the right according to the Scriptures.

2 Timothy 4:17-18 ESV

“But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”

Sometimes when you are obeying the Lord, and you are doing what he has called you to do, you will have to stand alone, for others may desert you. It is painful when that happens, but our faith is being tested to see whether or not we will stand with God even if it means standing alone. But we are not really alone, for our Lord is with us, and he is giving us the strength we need to endure unjust suffering and to keep sharing the truth of the gospel, and to keep refuting the lies, so that many can come to know Jesus.

So, even when things look rather bleak and discouraging, at times, we need to hold on to our faith in the Lord, and then we need to trust in his sovereignty over our lives, believing that he is absolutely in control. And his rescuing of us may not always be him delivering us out of these difficult circumstances, but it is him carrying us through them, and it is him strengthening us through them, too. He will keep us spiritually safe, if we will let him, and he will bring us safely into his heavenly kingdom. Amen!

Blessed Be Your Name

by Matt Redman

In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
When I’m found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness

When the sun’s shining down on me
When the world’s ‘all as it should be’
On the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the offering

Blessed be the name of the Lord

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name
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