4. Crown of Life – Sacrifice (James 1:12; Revelation 2:10)
James 1:12, Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
We have an appointment with the Lord someday. God help us to surrender our all to Him. There is a story that comes to us from India. A beggar saw a wealthy prince come toward him, riding in his beautiful chariot. The beggar took the opportunity and stood by the side of the road holding out his bowl of rice, hoping for a handout. To his surprise, the prince stopped, looked at the beggar, and said, "Give me some of your rice!" The beggar was furious. To think that this wealthy prince would expect his rice! Gingerly, he gave him one grain of rice. "Beggar, give me more of your rice!" In anger, the beggar gave him another grain of rice. "More please!" By now the beggar was seething with resentment and bitterness. Once again, he stingily gave the prince another grain of rice and then walked away. As the chariot went on its way, the beggar, in his fury, looked into his bowl of rice. He noticed something glitter. It was a grain of gold the size of a grain of rice. He looked more carefully and found two more. For every grain of rice he gave to the prince he received a grain of gold. If we clutch our bowl of rice, we shall lose our reward. If we are faithful and give God each grain, He gives us gold in return. The gold that God gives will survive His testing fire.
This crown will be won by those who dare to go against the world, flesh and the Devil and do not yield to the power of temptations. We are to remain steadfast. God has a purpose for your trials. God will reward you with “a crown of life”. We are not to give up. Remember it is the fire that refines the gold. This involves persecution and martyrdom. When such a person has stood the test, he will receive the victor's crown. Beyond the cross of trial is the crown of life. This crown is promised and rewarded for those who persevere under trials, not for those who flee from them.
Only trials can develop our patience. God had to try Joseph for 13 years before he could trust him on the throne. David went through many difficulties before God could put him on the throne. Do you love God enough to grow and stay strong in the trials of life? Complaining is a neon sign that we are lacking in maturity. Love looks at the promises and sees God as just.
The strength to persevere under trials comes from the love of Christ. You might expect James to say, “the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who persevere,” or “to those who obey,” or “to those who believe in Him.” But rather, he says, “to them that love Him.” Why does he say this? Perhaps it is because love for Christ keeps us from loving the world. Love for Christ motivates us to persevere under trials. Our love for Christ does not exempt us from trials. Rather, it gives us the strength to persevere.
PRAYER: Father, help me to lose my will that I may find Your will. Strengthen me to serve You and give me the wisdom that I may honor You with the choices I make. In Jesus name, AMEN!
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.