Been reflecting much upon the crown of righteousness that God promises believers on the day of the Lord . It is the reward for living a life that pleases God. Paul puts it well in Philippians [ 3:13 – 14 ] “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.“
So, what does it mean to forfeit your crown? That prize that God has called us heavenward to?
Many times, I have lost sight of the prize, taken my eyes off the goal, and found myself way too lost. I have felt the prize slipping through my hands. Instead of fixing my gaze on things above, I got so engrossed in the fleeting things of this world. Refer to [Colossians 3:1]. So, thanks to the Holy Spirit, the million dollar question came to mind; Is all this worth it? I mean, are temporary pleasures of this life worth trading my eternal crown for? My heart sunk because the answer was way too obvious. That’s exactly what happens when we take our eyes off Jesus. We lose sight of what really matters, we lose our sense of direction, our vision becomes blurred. I’ve tasted both worlds. I know too well what it means to be led by the world, and I also know way too well what it means to be led by God. My conclusion is; Life’s journey with God is way lighter.
Life without God is more painful, filed with regret, no sense of direction, no sense of what is right or wrong and a lot more. Because, you look to yourself or others for everything. You believe you have control over your life and can be on the steering wheel of your life. The result is frustration and being overwhelmed. You are not your own and it was never your weight to carry. God can be trusted, He is not man that He should lie. He can be counted on. His promises never return void.
I’m reminded of the story of Peter, when Jesus walked on water. Jesus asked Peter to walk on water, toward Him. Peter got out of his boat where other disciples were, and started walking on water toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he became afraid and began to sink. Immediately, Jesus reached out His hand and caught him. Refer to [Mathew 14: 26 – 32] I saw myself and many other Christians in Peter. We have a sense of direction for as long as our gaze is fixed on Christ. Soon as we take our eyes off Him, we lose our ground and begin to sink. Many things contribute to our distraction; Fear, doubt, pride, lust, greed, anger, hatred, to mention but a few. These things can totally blur our vision from the prize. We often try to make excuses to justify these negative emotions. But God has given us dominion over all things. Plus, Jesus left us a helper – The Holy spirit, to help us with our weaknesses. [Romans 8:26]
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” [1 Corinthians 10:13]
We have also too often forfeited our crown by letting other people to set the standard for us. We let ourselves get swayed by their versions of the truth while we pay little or no attention to the real truth which is God’s word.
As Christians, we often underestimate the cunning and clever nature of the devil. I think we expect him to come at us so directly, looking all “beastly” and all lol. But he instead actually comes at us in all kinds of subtle ways. He can come at you through the things and people you love and trust most. He can come through anything and everything. This reminds me of how the devil came at Samson through his “wife” – Delilah! The rulers of the Philistines wanted so desperately to over power Samson. He was however too strong for them. His strength was enviable and unmatched! The rulers then devised a way of plotting Samson’s downfall, through Delilah! They promised her shekels of silver if she could lure Samson into revealing the source of his strength. When Delilah first asked Samson about the source of his strength, he gave her wrong answers. Delilah then used this to guilt-trip Samson.
“How can you say ‘I love you, when you won’t confide in me? This is the third time you have made a fool of me and haven’t told me the secret of your strength.” [Judges 16:15] “With such nagging, she prodded him day after day until he was sick to death of it. He told her everything.” [Judges 16:16] And that’s how Delilah turned Samson over to the Philistine rulers! I’m certain that’s something Samson would’ve least expected!
Samson had been blinded by his lust for women [Delilah], which clouded his judgement and made him susceptible to her wicked skims.
Many of us can relate to the story of Samson, in one way or another. We have let other people steal our power from us. We are guilty of taking our eyes off God for fleeting things. We have made idols of things for which we’ve had to pay a very hefty price.
“I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after wind.” [Ecclesiastes 1:14]
Samson thought he was invincible, and underestimated the power of the enemy. The enemy took advantage of this to get him. “Therefore, let him who thinks stands strong, take heed lest he falls.” [1 Corinthians 10:12] As children of God looking forward to receiving the crown of glory, we cannot afford to take anything for granted. There is a constant battle for our souls. We have to guard our crowns jealously. We just never know where the enemy will attack from, we need to keep watch at all times. As we go about our every day lives, we interact with different peoples, from all walks of life, with many different beliefs. Some may not be so good influences on our spiritual walk. It doesn’t make them bad people, instead we need to interact with them with grace but also stay alert and guard ourselves so we don’t fall off the narrow path. Be conscious of what you entertain.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” [Proverbs 4:23]
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” [Philippians 4:8]
Nothing is worth forfeiting our crown of glory for. We cannot throw away our eternity just like that. I pray that God’s grace abounds even more in our moments of weakness. I pray that we all keep our eyes on what truly matters, take charge and become unapologetically intentional about our eternity. Even when we fall, may we not grow faint, but instead find the strength to pick ourselves up and continue pressing toward the goal. As we look forward to that day when our master will say to us, “Well done my good and faithful servants!” [Mathew 25:21]
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in heavenly realms.” [Ephesians 6: 10 -14]