James 1:12 (NIV)
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.
Our Verse of the Day prompts us to remember that when we endure the tests that comes with life … when we persevere under the trials that come with faith, there is a “crown of life” the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Note that it is by the obedience that comes through faith that we demonstrate to the Lord that we love Him. As Jesus told His followers, “If you love me, keep (obey) my commands.” (Cf. John 14:15)
As I read our verse, I became intrigued by the gift to be received by believers – described as the “crown of life.” So, I looked for cross references to see where this phrase might have been used in other scriptures. The only other reference I found was in Revelation 2:10 which uses the term in the same context of “perseverance under trial”. The verse is found in the passage of the letter to the Church in Smyrna. It reads:
Revelation 2:8-11 (NIV)
“To the angel of the church in Smyrna write:
These are the words of Him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death.
Here is a great word of encouragement and hope for believers regarding the promised reward … the blessing for faithfulness! The crown of life is a victor’s crown … and it represents eternal life. Those who are victorious through faith will not be hurt at all by the second death. Indeed, I think this promise should be our highest motivation to pursue sanctification and add to our faith as Peter admonished. And I am reminded of what Jesus told His disciples: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (Cf. John 16:33)
My friends, our victory is in Jesus! And I just love how Paul articulated how this victory will be realized in those who believe:
1 Corinthians 15:50-58 (NIV)
I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” (Citing Isaiah 25:8) “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (Citing Hosea 13:14) The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
And the beloved John imparts to us this truth:
1 John 5:1-5 (NIV)
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves His child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out His commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep His commands. And His commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
Perseverance under trial … steadfastness in faith … putting on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (Cf. Ephesians 6:13) There is a victor’s crown awaiting you in heaven, and I pray you will be comforted knowing….
So Now You Know…
Have a Blessed Day!