Consider Your Reward
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. – James 1:12 (ESV)
James is bringing back the topic of trials, testing, and endurance which encompasses the idea of steadfastness.
The word “crown” (stephanos) refers to a laurel wreath that is given to a winning athlete. The word “life” is referring to eternal life as our reward.
Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. – Revelation 2:10, ESV
We are not to think our salvation is dependent on being victorious over our trials however we should use the thought in anticipation of our inheritance and reward to keep us going. Celebration and rewards after hard work is great motivation. Because of this, God asks us many times in the New Testament to look to our reward when we think about the trials we face. We must practice steadfastness if we want to receive and achieve a settled character.
I teach my students that in life we must reward ourselves for a job well done. Too often we glaze over accomplishments and brood over our failures. The more we are able to recognize and celebrate even our mini accomplishments over sin and trials the stronger we will become. It is like exercising a muscle: use it or lose it. Understanding there is an eternal, glorious, joy-filled eternal life is the ultimate reward and I intend to make up for any lost time by focusing daily on God’s Word and His will