For the Crown: James 1:12
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.
A few posts back, James told us to "count it all joy" when we face temptations or challenges that put our faith on trial. He tells us that those trials actually make us stronger, that they give our patience and endurance an opportunity to grow, and for that reason we can find joy in the hard times, knowing that they're working for our good.
In this verse, James goes even further in explaining why we can rejoice in every tribulation: because those who endure, who stay faithful to the end, will be rewarded in heaven with the eternal crown of life.
Crown: a reward of victory or mark of honour; something that imparts splendour, honour or finish; CULMINATION.
Victory~ Though it may not always feel like it, by enduring a difficult time and staying true to God throughout, we are actually conquering that trial, not being defeated. Those who endure are victorious, and their victory will be rewarded.
Honour~ While we're going through something difficult, it's easy to feel like God has forgotten us, like we've been thrown to the wolves and are destined to wallow in hardship and discouragement. It's difficult not to despair, but this verse reminds us that our suffering is only temporary, that God has NOT forgotten us, that we will be honoured in due time as long as we stay true to the end.
Finish~ The crown of life is like the 'finishing touch' of God's holy work in us; it is the culmination of that great work, and we only earn it by patiently enduring whatever trial God uses to cleanse, refine, and perfect us.
Promise: to pledge to do, bring about, or provide.
You know what's awesome? God always keeps His promises. There's no question or doubt about it—He will always hold up His end of the deal. That said, we still have to uphold ours, and that means taking whatever trials come in faith, and always loving God no matter what comes our way.
Love: a person's adoration of God.
Without this, there is no crown of life. We need to love God, to adore Him with all our hearts, because it's this love that gives us the faith to endure trials, and this love that sustains us until the day we win our victory crown.
Mish, Frederick C. Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary. 9th ed., Merriam-Webster Inc., 1983.