The Crown of Life

Scripture: James 1:12, ‘Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.’

 

Observations: Earlier James says that we should consider trials with joy, because trials make our faith mature. Now he says it again, those who persevere will be blessed. There is joy in passing ‘the test,’ of remaining faithful. James talks about receiving ‘the crown of life that God has promised those who love him.’ The symbolism is interesting. Firstly, a crown is both a symbol of authority and victory. Kings wore a crown as a symbol of their right to rule. Athletes also were given crowns as a symbol of their victory in the games. The crown that James is talking about symbolizes our victory over death through faith in Jesus Christ. It’s a symbol of our authority to rule the new heavens and earth. Basically it symbolizes eternal life that God promised those who love him. It’s interesting that the only crown Jesus received when he lived on this earth was a crown of thorns (Mt 27:29). But because he wore a crown of thorns we get to wear a crown that lasts forever (1 Cor 9:25), which elsewhere Paul calls ‘a crown of righteousness, (2 Tim 4:7)’ and Peter ‘the crown of glory. (1 Pet 5:4)’ It’s interesting that when Jesus returns he will be wearing many crowns (Rev 19:12) and we will lay down our crowns at his feet (Rev 4:10). We receive eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ and we offer that life to Jesus as an act of worship for wearing the crown that symbolized our sin on the cross.

 

Application: We persevere under trial because God rewards those who remain faithful to him by giving them eternal life. We run this race in order to receive the crown of victory. We face hardship knowing that in the end we will be blessed. And when we receive the crown we will lay it at the feet of Jesus, because it was him who made it possible. Maybe we should start practicing laying down our crowns before Jesus now, acknowledging that he alone is our hope and our joy.

 

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I lay down myself before Your Son, Jesus Christ, because he wore a crown of thorns that I might wear a crown of life. He died the death I deserved, so that I could receive eternal life. Lord, help me to persevere through every and any trial that in the end I may stand before You and give You the glory that You rightly deserve. I know Your blessings every day, and I look forward to Your blessings forever more. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

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