I remember as a student I often prayed: Lord, I love You so much, what more I can do to bring You joy and honour?

Have you ever wondered how you can honour the Lord more with your life? Scripture is filled with guidelines of what a life pleasing unto God looks like, but what drew my attention back then, was Scripture mentioning the ‘crowns’ God has prepared for those who believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ.

One day as we gather before His throne, we will receive crowns from Him as reward for the way we lived our earthly lives.  Therefore, we can make sure now that our lives are formed and moulded to receive all these crowns!

There are several different crowns mentioned in Scripture.  Each crown touches on a different aspect of the Christian life.  As we grow in our relationship with the Lord and faithfully serve Him, these crowns are prepared for us and will be given to us when we are judged before His great white throne. (Revelation 20:11-15).

 

First things first

We are saved not by the works we do for God. (Ephesians 2:8-9, Titus 3:5-8). Salvation is a gift from God. However, from salvation onwards, whatever we do for the glory of God is rewarded with eternal rewards and crowns. After being saved by the grace and unmerited favour of God and His Son, Jesus Christ, we are called to do good works. (Galatians 5: 22-26, John 15:16). Therefore, Jesus Himself encourages us in Matthew 6:19-21 to set our mind and our affections on things above, and worry less about temporal, earthly things. (Colossians 3:2).

 

Crowns can be lost

Revelation 3:11 says; Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. We are therefore to guard ourselves and watch, to pray and to continue in faithfulness; growing in grace. It also states that some, because they are praised now, have already received their reward. (Matthew 6:2; 2 John 1:7-8). However, if we remain faithful to God, we will not lose our rewards in Heaven. There will be a moment in eternity (Revelation 4:4) when, clothed in white and standing around His throne, we will be crowned with crowns of gold. These we will lay before His throne because He is worthy. (Revelation 4:10). We don’t want to be before Him without having a crown with which to crown Him!

 

It is all about His glory

In 1 John 2:27-29 it says that some will be ashamed for not having done works that glorify God. Never settle for ‘salvation without works’, but rather use your heart, soul, mind, and strength to pursue the prize!

 

#1 | The Imperishable, incorruptible, eternal crown
1 Corinthians 9:24-25, Matthew 6:19-20, 1 Peter 1:3-4

And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. (1 Corinthians 9:25, NKJV)

This crown is for those who are faithful to God their whole lives. In Biblical days, a ‘wreath’ was weaved with branches and leaves and given to those who won a race. After a few days however, the wreath would wither and be thrown away. For believers, choosing Christ and running the race with God in this life, will result in receiving a crown that will never wither! For this to happen, we must run the Christian life in a way that distinguishes us from the world. The main emphasis is to practice self-control, throughout our lives.  Jesus Himself urged us not to invest only in earthly treasures (Matthew 6:19). Nothing we can obtain in this life compares with the life to come. That does not mean we can’t have good things now – they should just not ‘have us’! Choose therefore to lay aside everything in this life that may separate you from your love for the Lord Jesus in any way. In all we do, we are to call others to choose Christ as we did.

 

#2 | Crown of righteousness
2 Timothy 4:7-8Romans 1:17

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7-8)

This crown is laid up for those who strive to live a righteous life – who put away the things of this world and choose to live holy, laying down the self-life. This life is described by Paul in Titus 2:12,13: …teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ…

The key to obtaining this crown is ‘faith’. We read of this in Romans 1:17 – For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written: “But the righteous one will live by faith.”

 

#3 | Crown of rejoicing
Philippians 4:1, 4, 1 Thessalonians 2:19, Revelation 21:4, Luke 15:7

Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved. (Philippians 4:1). For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? (1 Thessalonians 2:19).

This crown is for those who lead others to Christ or demonstrate fruitfulness by influencing others towards righteousness.  For those who act like a “brother” to other believers. Crowns are not just given for how we live and what we do. They are also given as reward for the influence our lives have on others. In Daniel 12:3, the angel Gabriel says to him, “Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.” 

Furthermore, the joy of the Lord is our strength. (Nehemiah 8:10). As we put on joy, we put on strength to do what is right regardless of our circumstances. We cannot take anything of this life into heaven – but the joy of the Lord will be with us forever.

Be mindful that your life impacts those around you – whether good or bad. Therefore, choose to live in a way that will draw them unto Christ. For such a life, there awaits a crown of rejoicing in God.

 

#4 | Crown of glory
1 Peter 5:4, Acts 7:55, Romans 8:18

…and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away. (1 Peter 5:4)

This crown is for those who fulfil their calling and work God has given them. Remember, we ourselves are not worthy of glory.  Only God is glorified. However, as His beloved children, His glory becomes like a mark of honour upon us because we belong to Him.  The greatest achievement therefore is to fulfil our calling and finish the work God gave us to do.  This Scripture reference is speaking to shepherds or pastors who finish their work faithfully, but this crown is not only for pastors.  It is for anyone who finds and fulfils their assignment God has given them. This crown will be given upon Christ’s return.

There is also an element of endurance required to receive this crown as explained in Romans 8:18 – For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. This encourages us to do what is right, regardless of what we feel or experience. God sees all these things and will certainly reward us.

 

#5 | Crown of Life
James 1:12, Rev: 2:10

Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. (James 1:12)

Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. (Revelation 2:10)

This crown is given to those who have persevered under trial and stood the test of temptations, even unto death. The crown of life is also called the martyr’s crown.

Although God can save His children from any trial, it is a reality that some will lose their lives for His sake. The believer who stays the course in God’s call and assignment amidst difficulty, even martyrdom, will receive this crown. Testing and trials are part of the Christian life. Many are offended by God when facing prolonged seasons of hardship, because they believe the wrong doctrines such as prosperity teachings, which only promise a happy life. Yet, Jesus Himself said in John 16:33 –These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. Also, in John 15:20 Jesus said: …If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.

 

#6 | Crown of victory
2 Timothy 2:5, 12

5 And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 12 If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. (2 Timothy 2:5, 12)

The victor’s crown specifically goes to those who overcome, who complete the race according to the rules, enduring hardship to the end. Many will complete their race, but not all win the race. Overcomers are different. They are not ordinary runners. They run the race with a tenacity that makes them stand out from other runners. This ‘overcoming’ is likened to an athlete’s endurance in a difficult race, as well as the training that soldiers go through. The lives of these are lived differently from those who never train for a race or go to war. (2 Timothy 2:3-4). Overcomers will reign with Christ – they will not only obtain a crown, but also a throne with Christ and will reign with Him. (1 Corinthians 6:2-3).

 

Crown Him with Many Crowns!

John saw Jesus – one like the son of man – with a crown of gold on His head. (Revelations 14:14).  In Revelation 19:12, John describes the Lord Jesus as having eyes like blazing fire, with many crowns on His head. Think about it, the rewards and crowns we will receive upon meeting the Lord, will be ours for all eternity. Though we may have earned them on earth, they are really gifts of loving gratitude we will bestow back unto the One who has given them. (1 Corinthians 8:6). What a glorious day it will be when we can crown Him with all the crowns due His name!

I am reminded of the well-known song written many years ago – “Crown Him with many crowns.” (Listen to this YouTube version). Let us now meditate on those words. Ask the Holy Spirit to strengthen you in running your race – with humility, love, faith, endurance, joy, victory – till the end.

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