What Crown are you Striving for?
“12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12 NIV
This is not a proverb or a beatitude we live by today. If our culture would write some beatitudes as James did, it would sound like the following:
“Blessed is the one who gets a pay raise.”
“Blessed is the one who has the biggest house.”
“Blessed is the one who win’s the lottery.”
“Blessed is the one who gets overtime pay.”
“Blessed is the one who has a six-pack of abs.”
“Blessed is the one who has the easiest life.”
“Blessed is the one who got the best retirement benefits.”
James tells the early church that for those “who persevere under trial, having stood the test” will receive the “crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” While Crowns don’t seem to be of much value today, in Bible times they were similar to trophies or awards. Crowns were awarded to athletes who were victorious in fights, races, or sports.
I think a strong application of our Bible verse today would be to consider the following question. If God were to look at your life today, what crown do you think He would see you living for? Are you living your life to obtain a crown of life from the Lord, or a crown of riches from the world? Are you giving your life to obtain a crown of convenience? What are you living your life to accomplish?
I challenge you to search the Scriptures. Nowhere does God promise a crown for those who got the best pay raise, bought the biggest house, won the lottery, had a six-pack of abs, lived the easiest life, or got the best retirement benefits. We hold value to those things, God has different values. God values when His people persevere through trials. God values when His people are faithful through temptations. God values when we are steadfast in our walks with Him.
Holy Spirit empower me to seek the crowns that You desire. To endure as You desire. To be blessed as You would bless. May Your Kingdom take priority over mine. Your Kingdom, not mine come. In the strong name of Jesus Christ, Amen.