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
Most Americans do not like to wait. Indeed, patience is not considered a virtue or a strength in American culture. Most Americans like to take the “bull by the horn,” so to speak, and make things happen. They are very independent and do not like to wait on anyone for anything. Thus, fast food restaurants have made tens of billions of dollars in the past decade.
Americans are also very competitive. This competitive spirit has made many professional athletes rich and famous. Our society likes to reward winners. The best American athletes are enshrined in the hall of fame. They are revered for their innate abilities and celebrated for their successes.
Disciples of Jesus Christ are waiting for their heavenly prize notwithstanding their skill and ability. Through Christ Jesus, we are all winners who are waiting for our heavenly prize. No one can deny us our heavenly reward because it is promised by God through Jesus Christ. Despite our shortcomings and missteps, we will still get our heavenly prize.
This is an encouraging word for sinful beings like us who despite our confession of faith in Christ Jesus continues to struggle against our sinful self. I am encouraged and excited to know believers cannot forfeit their eternal reward. Despite our spiritual struggles, we are destined to get our crown in glory. Though we may never get enshrined in a hall of fame or receive a gold medal, we are guaranteed to get our heavenly prize.
Our labor for the kingdom of God is not in vain. God is taking note of every act of kindness, and every expression of love. The Almighty takes note of our sacrificial offerings of time, talent, and treasure. He sees the hours we spend interceding for others in prayer, and the service we render to His kingdom.
In today’s text, James assures believers will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him. But we have to remain steadfast under trial and stand our existential and spiritual tests. Waiting for our heavenly prize requires a life of ongoing service during which we must steadfast under trial. Our waiting is not passive or inactive. Instead, it is proactive and dynamic. The reason believers wait for their heavenly prize is that they are sowing in the Lord’s vineyard and doing the Master’s will.
My prayer is for believers not to be discouraged as they await their heavenly prize. As we press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14), we patiently endure hardships knowing that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope (Romans 5:3-4). We wait patiently because we believe that God is faithful and true to His promises.
I wake up every day with excitement notwithstanding the challenges I may face because I want to continue adding value to the kingdom of God. The Almighty created me to do good works that he prepared for me before the foundation of time. I welcome every opportunity to do my assignment no matter how difficult things may get. In the end, I know I will get my heavenly prize according to John 14:3. And if the Lord were to return before I transition time, I will be caught up with Him in the rapture. Either way, I will get my Heavenly prize.
Questions for Personal Reflection
What are you doing for the kingdom of God as you wait for your heavenly Prize?
In what way are you using your gifts and talents to the glory of God?
Prayer- Heavenly Father, thank you for your faithful promise of our heavenly reward. Please help us to remain steadfast under trial as we wait to receive our crown.