A Crown Awaits
By Greg Laurie - Harvest Devotionals On August 30, 2012
In ancient Smyrna, there was an arena where athletic events took place. So in the book of Revelation, when Jesus spoke to the church of Smyrna about the "crown of life" (Revelation 2:10), they would have been familiar with the concept. Unlike an ornate, jeweled crown that a monarch would wear, the crowns given to the winners in athletic events were made of laurel leaves. Nevertheless, they were awards of great significance.
The Bible speaks of multiple crowns. There is the "crown of rejoicing," which is apparently given to those who lead other people to Christ (see 1 Thessalonians 2:19). And then there is "the crown of righteousness," which is promised to those who love the appearing of the Lord. Paul said, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 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).
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There is also the "crown of life." Interestingly Jesus said the believers in the church of Smyrna would receive the crown of life because they had faced suffering, because they were being persecuted.
But this reward is also promised to the person who resists temptation and endures personal suffering, because in James 1:12 we read, "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."
There is a reward waiting, not just for the person who goes through suffering, but for the person who resists temptation.