The Cross and The Crown

The Cross and The Crown

“Come on, we’ve got to go in, they’re waiting on us,” my husband said to me gently as he studied my face for any type of response. I sat in the car in the hospital parking deck, contemplating on the choices I (thought) I had. I could either lock the doors and pretend I couldn’t hear his guidance, or face the fact that I was about to be induced into labor to welcome our baby boy. Of course I was excited to meet our son, but the thought of going into labor and the unknowns before the impending joy was getting the best of my mind. As I shuffled through my nervous thoughts, my husband reminded me how exciting this day would be, getting to welcome our baby into our arms after the loss of our baby girl just ten months earlier. His reminder of this impending joy helped me refocus my mind from the stabbing pain of our past birth experience to the great reward awaiting. And so I opened the door, reached for his hand, and followed his lead, determined to persevere in strength.

The apostle John, one of Jesus’ original 12 disciples, helped establish the early Christian church and oversaw the churches in Asia Minor. These were dangerous times for early Christians because of their teachings and belief in Jesus Christ and a lifestyle in righteous living. The early Christians had a target on their backs for persecution and death. John was no exception. After being tortured for preaching the word of God and his testament about Jesus, a Roman emperor exiled him to the island of Patmos to “silence” his teachings. This desolate, barren island was the location in which John was blessed with the vision of heaven from Christ to benefit the churches in existence at the time, instructions for Christian living, and a look into future events to take place with Christ’s Second Coming. He was instructed to write his vision down to share with the world, beginning with letters to the seven churches in Asia. These seven letters consisted of encouragement and correction, because most of these churches were beginning to show major signs of decline due to their weakening faith during their significant trials. One of the seven letters was written to the church in Philadelphia, also known as the “persevering church.”

“I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close. You have little strength, yet you obeyed my word and did not deny me.” (Revelation 3:8 NLT) Jesus was commending the Church of Philadelphia for their hard work and sacrifice, denying themselves, turning the other cheek, praying for those who had persecuted them. He praised them for their steadfast endurance, the ability to endure affliction, but pressing on in their mission to spread the “Good News” of Jesus Christ. They had remained faithful and holy despite the wickedness and false teachings around them. They were full of Christ-likeness, the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Yet, they were oppressed and slandered.

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?” (Matthew 16: 24-26b NLT) Following Jesus is not easy and will get increasingly harder as time moves on. We must wake up each day and reach for Jesus’ hand as we live our lives. Living in a world where immoral culture is glorified, we as Christians find ourselves increasingly condemned for our belief in righteous living through Christ. While it will continue getting harder to swim against the current, we must remember the one who is Holy and True. Only Jesus has the power to save, to heal, to redeem, to destroy. Remembering who Jesus was, and is, and is to come will help us live the way the church of Philadelphia did. Let’s choose to glorify God through hard work and sacrifice, steadfast endurance, faithfulness, holiness, and Christ-likeness. We must pledge our whole existence to serving Jesus, no matter what that will cost us. “God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12 NLT)

You see, many times the best parts of life do not come without difficulty. Those moments that are the most beautiful (like the birth of our son, and another daughter to follow) have been saturated with hard work, sacrifice, commitment, perseverance, and hardship. I cannot imagine the thoughts Jesus dealt with as he talked about his own predicted death to his disciples. He knew the depth of burden he would carry; he knew the sacrifice and hardship he would experience on the cross; he knew the pain and suffering he would endure in those final moments before breath escaped his lungs. Yet, Jesus also knew that the glorious gates would open for ALL people when he fulfilled the prophecy of his death on the cross. He knew the crown of life would be waiting for him, and he knew the crowns of eternal life that would be freely given to all people who gave their life to him as a result of his sacrifice.

“Because you have obeyed my command to persevere, I will protect you from the great time of testing that will come upon the whole world to test those who belong to this world. I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take away your crown. All who are victorious will become pillars in the Temple of my God, and they will never have to leave it. And I will write on them the name of my God, and they will be citizens in the city of my God - the new Jerusalem that comes down from heaven from my God. And I will also write on them my new name.” (Revelation 3:10-12 NLT)

Friend, let’s walk the narrow path together, filled with the joy that John experienced in his vision of heaven. Make the decision to grab Jesus’ hand, pick up your cross, and follow him each day. Oh, but the glory to come that Jesus has prepared for us! The crown waiting for you with YOUR name on it! How beautiful that day will be!


- Lacey


Lacey's story reminds us that we will face hardships here on earth but even through our hardships we can have faith in and rely on God's glory and goodness. He gives us the strength to endure and keep our minds set to the things above. He gives us the assurance that one day, He will make all things new. If Lacey's story has encouraged you today, let us know in the comments below!


About Lacey:

Lacey Medor Living Truth Collective Blog

Lacey and her husband, Jason, have been married almost eight magical years and have two beautiful children, Judah and Scarlett. She is a marketing specialist by day for a local museum and loves making a mess in the kitchen and teaching her children how to cook. Lacey has a passion for the ministry through her writings on personal life experiences and applying biblical truths and is an “At The Table” Ministry Leader through Living Truth Collective. She and her family call Southside Baptist Church, in Warner Robins, GA, their home.


Do you need a reminder that you can rejoice in the midst of hardships? Our REJOICE bracelet serves as that perfect reminder. Based on Philippians 4:4, our REJOICE bracelet reminds you to remain strong in God's Truths while keeping your mind set on His glory. Shop the REJOICE bracelet by clicking the picture below.

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