Paul Simon penned a popular song 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover. In the song he rhymes some of the ways. He does not mention all 50 ways. He actually lists only 5. Do you remember these?
- Slip out the back, Jack.
- Make a new plan, Stan.
- Don’t need to be coy, Roy.
- Hop on the bus, Gus.
- Drop off the key, Lee.
I’m sorry if you have the song stuck in your head now, but I do want to turn this article to a more serious tone. Our goal should be to continually draw nearer to Jesus. But are you aware of the ways we draw AWAY from Jesus? Here are some of the ways people leave Jesus.
1. Betrayal (Judas Iscariot)
We all know the story of Judas betraying Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. The words betrayal and Judas are now wed in our vocabulary. In fact the gospel introduces Judas this way:
Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. (Matthew 10:4 ESV)
People leave Jesus when they opt to exchange Jesus for something else. My prayer is that you will stay with Jesus and not betray him.
2. Desertion (Demas)
Demas is mentioned a few times in the New Testament as assisting Paul. Near the end of his life, Paul sadly laments that Demas no longer is helping him.
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 ESV)
People desert when love for the world draws them away. We avoid being a deserter by enflaming our love for Jesus.
3. Denial (Peter)
Peter preached on the day of Pentecost and 3,000 people were converted. He authored two books of the New Testament. Yet, he is often remembered for denying Jesus three times prior to the crucifixion of Jesus.
Peter had placed his hope in Jesus. When Jesus was arrested, Peter’s disillusionment led him to deny following him. In fact, he denied even knowing him.
Jesus told Peter that Satan was involved in turning Peter’s life upside down. In the end, Peter became even stronger when Jesus restored him after the resurrection. He learned much of the grace and power of the Lord.
Avoid denying the Lord by trusting him…not with your preconceived ideas about how Jesus will act.
Apostasy literally means to stand away from. Apostates once stood close to the faith. Now they stand away from it. They have moved away. Note that they stood close to it. They were never really in it.
Heresy is a leaving of Jesus which is more in the realm of the mind. It involves denying basic theology about the Lord. It is not only a matter of the mind. It is also a heart issue. An example of heresy is to deny the deity of Jesus. You cannot be in good relationship with Jesus while denying that he is God.
Leaving Jesus is not unusual. When Jesus walked on the earth, crowds frequently left him in large numbers. They were initially attracted by the miracles, but turned away from the demands and/or teaching of Jesus.
I have been deeply saddened when people I know have left Jesus. I have had times of questions and times of discouragements. In the end I want to respond like Peter did when faced with whether to leave Jesus like the crowd.
After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:66-69 ESV)
Regardless of where you currently stand in relation to Jesus, I hope you will turn to him. Run to him and find life.