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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

September 16, 2016

Our imperishable crown

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

It should not surprise us that the apostle Paul compared the life of a Christian to a race run by a trained athlete competing for a prize. Athletic contests were popular in ancient Greece, and the Corinthians knew exactly what he meant when he wrote: "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? . . . They do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown" (1 Corinthians 9:24-25).

We run an individual race as Christians, having our own course – an obstacle course of ups and downs, that often presents daily challenges of Olympian magnitude. What constitutes the Christian course? Our race is a contest of the mind involving many tests of faith. We must be selfless, and we must persevere.

Sometimes the unexpected happens and we are confronted with what seems to be an insurmountable crisis. This can be the most difficult time we will face in our spiritual race. Many of us have seen circumstances arise in the lives of others that threatened to virtually destroy them and their families. It seems we all must face our own personal trials and tests.

But We also experience Christian men and women who stumble and fall, but get back up and keep going. We are to be victorious over illness, financial setbacks, emotional crises and other setbacks. Where do we get the strength to keep running when things seem hopeless?

We can only reach the finish line in our Christian race with Jesus' help! Looking to our Lord and master in times of crisis to gain strength and endurance is one of the most important lessons as we run our race. Paul wrote: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13).

The race we run as Christians can be quite challenging. But we know that a glorious gift is waiting for us at the finish line of our race. The apostle James wrote: "Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him" (James 1:13).

The imperishable crown that we will receive is the crown of eternal life! The apostle John wrote in this regard: "And this is the promise that He has promised us – eternal life" (1 John 2:25).

Everlasting life is the crown promised to the Christian. It is not a perishable crown like the ones given to ancient Greek athletes. Instead, it is the imperishable crown of eternal life, a crown that does not wither and die. The apostle Peter describes this reward: When "the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away" (1 Peter 5:4).

With these thoughts I wish everyone a rewarding Sabbath!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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