Tidings for Tuesday

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. James 1:12

The Crown of Life is often referred to by another name, the Martyr’s Crown. It is called this because this crown is also listed in Revelation 2:10, where it refers to those who are faithful unto death in a time of persecution. Down through the history of Christianity, untold thousands of faithful believers have qualified for this crown as they accepted death rather than deny their Lord. They believed as the martyr Jim Elliot declared ‘He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose’.  There is not letup, even today, in the slaughter of faithful Christians. You and I don’t live in lands where such martyrdom is experienced. At least not yet. Does this mean we can’t qualify for the Crown of Life?

Unlike the Revelation reference to the Crown of Life, our text today does not refer to our laying down our lives in faithfulness to our Lord; the reference is to enduring temptation. There is a huge difference, we might think, between actually being killed for our faithfulness and being able to resist the daily temptations that our flesh is drawn to on a daily basis. So how can enduring temptation be fairly compared to actual martyrdom? Maybe our enduring temptation needs to be turned up a few notches. Our text contains the key.

Our text declares that God has promised the Crown of Life to those who love Him. But don’t we all love Him? To a certain extent, all believers do love our Lord. But there is a difference. Some Christians display little evidence of divine life as they fail to allow the Holy Spirit to function in their lives. Other Christians are so filled with the effective working of the Spirit that their love for their Lord is always obvious. And then, there are the rest of us, maybe the majority of us. There is another term for enduring temptation: obedience. The greater our love for our Lord, the greater we will strive to obey His Word in all things. Our passion to please Him will translate into a life in which temptations of any kind will have no power over us.

So we can qualify for the Heavenly honour of the Crown of Life. Are you up to the challenge? Am I? -Jim MacIntosh

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