My Joy and My Crown
” Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved ” (Philippians 4:1). Dear friends, how would you like to receive a letter like that? How would you like to hear that you are someone’s beloved and longed for? Someone’s joy and crown?
Paul was inspired by God to write this letter to the Philippians, a church of Christians that were very dear to him. In Acts chapter 16, we read the account of Paul’s visit to Philippi. He was prompted by the Lord to go to Philippi, where he met Lydia and witnessed her acceptance of Christ and baptism (Acts 16:15). Also in Philippi, he cast demons out of a possessed woman (Acts 16:16); he and Silas were cast into jail and subsequently freed by the Lord (Acts 16:26); and finally he watched the mercy he displayed upon the Philippian jailer lead to the jailer’s acceptance of Christ and his baptism (Acts 16:31). What a visit! How could Paul not remember so well and so dearly a group of people to which he had brought Christ, released them from the snare of the devil, and seen a miracle performed in his own life? These people were very important to him.
But these people were not just important and special to Paul. Paul understood what he was saying when he said that they were his ” crown ” (Philippians 4:1). Those to whom he poured his life into and out for became the jewels in the crown that God would honor him with. He understood this when he wrote to the Romans in Romans 2:7, ” To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life “. Paul was not out to seek glory and honour for himself, because he knew that as he served God, by loving and serving others, God would bestow upon him the glory and honor due him.
It is the same with each of us, my friends. As we serve God by loving and serving others, God is creating for us a crown that we will receive at the end of our days. Each time we serve God another jewel is added to that crown. ” Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing ” (II Timothy 4:8). As Paul wrote to Timothy, there is a crown of righteousness waiting for each of us who love Christ and long for His appearing. Again, as we ” by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life ” (Romans 2:7), we store up for ourselves treasures in Heaven (Matthew 6:20).
Each and every day, we are tempted to live life to our own ends. The devil continually tries to tempt us away from well doing. But, ” 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). We must fight the temptation of the devil each day knowing that ” Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world ” (I John 4:4). Though the devil will try to pull us away from our well doing, we are stronger than him through the power of Christ. We can resist the temptation and continue in our well doing, knowing the rewards and blessings that await us.
The Lord never misses anything. Each and every one of our actions is recorded by Him in a book of remembrance (Malachi 3:16). Therefore, we must live each day remembering that we live not for today, but for the glory that awaits us in Heaven. ” And the LORD their God shall save them in that day as the flock of his people: for they shall be as the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon His land ” (Zechariah 9:16). Just as those we pour ourselves into are the jewels in the crown that awaits us, we are the precious stones in the Lord’s crown. ” But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light ” (I Peter 2:9). He has called us and chosen us (John 15:16) and with our response to His love, we become jewels set in His crown of life. As such, we must daily shine for Him.
” Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved ” (Philippians 4:1). Dear friends, at the beginning of this devotion I asked how you would like to be the recipient of a letter that began like this. Well, you can receive a letter like this! As God’s children, we bring Him joy and as we’ve seen, we are the jewels in His crown of life. He loves us and longs for us. ” Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also ” (John 14:1-3). There awaits for us a mansion in heaven that Jesus Himself is preparing for us, along with a crown of righteousness and life. My friends, live each day with an eternal perspective, loving and serving others as you store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, knowing that Jesus Himself is waiting there for you with a crown in His hands.