WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
JANUARY 28, 2022
TOPIC: IF PEOPLE DESERT YOU
BY T. O. BANSO
“At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them” (2 Timothy 4:16 New King James Version).
Not all human beings are dependable. Many people will stand with you when the going is good but only a few will remain with you in times of adversity. Adversity reveals those who truly love you. Proverbs 14:20 says the poor man is hated even by his own neighbor, but the rich has many friends. Those who truly love you will stick with you through thick and thin. As Proverbs 17:17 says, a friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
Desertion could be very painful. When one looks around in a time of difficulty and cannot see those who have enjoyed good times with one, especially those who have benefitted from one, it could be very painful.
Who would have believed that the apostle Paul, considering his extensive ministerial work would be standing alone when he first appeared for trial before the Roman emperor? Paul puts it this way: “At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them” (2 Timothy 4:16 New King James Version). Where were all his friends in Rome? Where were the brethren? They were nowhere to be found. They must have been intimidated. Paul didn’t hold it against anyone. He received help more than any man could render. God was with Him.
He said, “But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!” (Verses 17-18 New King James Version).
The best of human beings will still be human beings. If you’re deserted by people, learn from the positive attitude of Paul. Don’t be bitter. This is why you should not let anyone replace God in your life. Take your relationship with God very seriously. He is the only one you can be sure will never leave you or forsake you as He has said (Hebrews 13:5b).
It may get to a point that those who have continued to stay with you after others have left may also leave. They may no longer be able to endure with you. But no matter your condition, take consolation in the truth that God will never leave you. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you” (Isaiah 43:2 New King James Version).
If people desert you, don’t take it to heart because God will always be there for you and strengthen you, as He strengthened Paul. God was there with the three Hebrews in the furnace of fire; He will be with you (Daniel 3:21-27). He was with Daniel in the lion’s den; He will be with you (Daniel 6:16-23). Jesus says He is with His followers always, even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20b).
If those who have benefitted from you in the past desert you, don’t regret whatever you did for them. God will reward you. God is not mocked; whatever a man sows, he will also reap (Galatians 6:7). This is true for you and for them. God will reward you for the good you have done for them. “The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself” (Proverbs 11:25 New King James Version).
Desertion is not anything strange. If you’re deserted by relations, friends, and beneficiaries, it’s not peculiar to you. Job was deserted but that was not his end (Job 19:13-19). God turned his life around. He restored Job’s losses. He blessed his latter days more than his beginning (Job 42:12-17).
David was deserted. He said in Psalm 38:11, “My loved ones and my friends stand aloof from my plague, and my relatives stand afar off” (New King James version). Many will feast with you only a few will fast with you! Don’t be distressed by desertion. Look unto God always. Don’t get carried away by many people you have around you, especially those hero-worshipping or idolizing you. Adversity will reveal the true state of the heart of everyone.
Desertion by men does not mean rejection by God. Jesus the Son of God was deserted after His arrest by the Jewish religious leaders. His disciples whom He had been with for about three and a half years all forsook Him and fled (Matthew 26:56).
Was Jesus bitter? No. After His crucifixion and resurrection, He went to look for them and presented Himself alive by many infallible proofs (Acts 1:3). He later reinstated Peter into the ministry (John 21:15-19). He also gave them instructions before His ascension. Their desertion was not irredeemable.
John Mark also deserted Paul and Barnabas but it was temporary, as he came back later. A sharp disagreement between Paul and Barnabas on Mark going with them on another missionary journey brought about a separation (Acts 13:13; 15:36-41).
But later, Paul and John Mark who had gone with Barnabas, his uncle, were reconciled and worked together in the ministry (2 Timothy 4:11; Colossians 4:10). John, despite deserting Paul and Barnabas during their first missionary journey, became a trusted Christian leader and wrote the book of Mark. But unlike Mark, there is no mention of Demas, a companion and fellow-labourer of Paul, after he deserted him. He forsook him and departed for Thessalonica because he loved the present world (2 Timothy 4:10).
If people desert you, let them go; don’t worry yourself or be begging and putting pressure on them if you’re not responsible for the desertion. See what Jesus did when he was deserted: “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, ‘Do you also want to go away?’ But Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God’” (John 6:66-69 New King James Version).
In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul addresses a situation where an unbeliever husband/wife insists on leaving his/her Christian spouse. “But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace” (1 Corinthians 7:15 New King James Version).
Deserters can return, as in the case of Jesus’ disciples. Job’s deserters also returned. “Then all his brothers, all his sisters, and all those who had been his acquaintances before, came to him and ate food with him in his house; and they consoled him and comforted him for all the adversity that the LORD had brought upon him. Each one gave him a piece of silver and each a ring of gold” (Job 42:11 New King James Version).
Forgive every deserter whether they return or not. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you must take them back. Some who return may not be sincere. Their selfish return could be because of your divine turnaround. They are fair-weather friends. You will need spiritual discernment to know who you should take back or not. Some will not change. “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots?” (Jeremiah 13:23a New King James Version).
David says when my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take care of him (Psalm 27:10). If people desert you, look unto Jesus the author and the finisher of your faith (Hebrews 12:2a). He is ever faithful. Don’t hold anything against men who are faithless. Some of them will regret it later.
Forgive. Matthew 6:14 says if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. The opposite is also true. Forgive if you don’t want your prayer to be hindered. “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses” (Mark 11:25 New King James Version).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, thank You that You will never leave me or forsake me. Jesus, thank You because You are with me always, even to the end of the age. Holy Spirit, no matter who deserts me, strengthen me and let not my faith in God be shaken. Help me, Holy Spirit, to look always unto God, not man.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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