THE INCREASE: The Crown of Life – LaMorris Crawford

LaMorris Crawford, Cincinnati Bengals Chaplain (Photo Courtesy: LaMorris Crawford)

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” — James 1:12

When people think of receiving blessings, they often think of material things. They’ll say the Lord has blessed them with a car, a house, etc. But there’s another type of blessing that comes when one endures. There’s a reward given to those who persevere through temptation.

In this text, James never writes that we won’t be tempted. In fact, he promises that we will! All of us will be tempted on earth, but how we respond to these temptations will determine if we are blessed. We are blessed not when we don’t face temptation, but when we face it and endure through it, without giving in. When we’ve passed the test — having endured the temptations that will come upon us — we will receive the “crown of life.” In Revelation, we see another time this crown is mentioned:

Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.” — Revelation 2:10

The two times we see this crown mentioned both have to do with temptation and suffering. In other words, our reward comes when we complete the marathon of life. We must continually overcome temptation, trial and tribulation. There’s no quitting! The enemy will do anything and everything he can to keep us from finishing the race marked out for us (Hebrews 12:1). If we put our hands to the plow, the enemy wants us to look back rather than ahead, where the Kingdom of God awaits us (Luke 9:62). We will all be tempted to disobey God in our walk of life, but the more we endure and walk away from temptation, the nearer we will draw to God.

These temptations do not come from God. James 1:13-14 says, “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.” Make no mistake, God does not tempt anyone. How many times have you heard people blame God for their circumstances? “If God really was, then why did this happen?” Let NO ONE say this! God Himself cannot be tempted because His character is all together good — with no stain or blemish. Therefore, neither can He tempt anyone else. Everything that pours forth from God is good.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” — James 1:17

Against such a God, no enemy can win. If the devil could tempt God — if Jesus had fallen into temptation in the wilderness — there would be no salvation for men. He is God with us — Emmanuel.

We are promised a reward for enduring. When we get to the awards ceremony in Heaven, there will be a crown of life waiting for you. Will you receive it?

— LaMorris Crawford, Cincinnati Bengals chaplain

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