Monday, July 9, 2012

Casting Crowns

Until recently, I didn't really understand the "laying crowns at Jesus' feet" concept.  I had a vague idea that it had a lot to do with how I live my life here on earth...and something perhaps to do with the amount of people that I led to Him.  Of course, that's a pretty prideful view...putting people's professions of faith as little notches in my belt or er, crowns in my bag.

Crowns are all throughout Christian music...There are old hymns like Jesus Paid It All which says "And when before the throne, I stand in Him complete...I’ll lay my trophies down, all down at Jesus’ feet." There are new groups...most obvious is er, Casting Crowns...and new songs like We Fall Down which says, "We fall down, we lay our the feet of Jesus...the greatness of mercy and the feet of Jesus...and we cry Holy Holy Holy is the Lamb."  Beautiful sentiments!

So, I decided I'd go all Berean and start digging through my Bible for some answers.  Sidenote:  I used to only think of Berean as the name of a christian bookstore...but lately latched onto Acts 17 mention of them, "they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so." 

So, I dug into my Bible with gusto to see what it said about crowns.  I got a bit tangled up in it...and eventually called to chat with my parents...don't worry they're used to these odd theological discussions.  Basically, "laying crowns at His feet" is only mentioned in Rev. 4 and it's the elders doing it.  So, we've no guarantees we will be doing that too.'s a good metaphor to hold onto because the Bible is clear that someday I will stand before Christ to give an account of how I lived my life.  1 Corinthians 3 talks about how my life will be tested for quality as by fire...only the fine quality gold will last.  Aha..the crowns must be gold.  Just kidding!

Paul talks about life being a race...and we want to finish well...
 2 Timothy 4:8, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing."

They are our crowns to wear...and the metaphor of putting them at Jesus' feet signifies that we recognize that we couldn't run this race without Him...not one single step of the way.  Any victory is HIS!  When we get to heaven we aren't going to be toting in various sized bags of crowns and proudly showing God how good we did "hunting for Him."  Ick!  I dare say, that being before God will be HUMBLING...a full recognition of WHO He is and His incredible, wonderful mercy on my wretched sinful soul!  I also think it will be sort of giddy celebratory feeling Dad said, "sort of like throwing off your caps at graduation."  How unspeakably wonderful to be in heaven with our LORD! 

As my Mom pointed out, it's not bad to hold onto these expressive metaphors...and I think it's good to PLAN what we want to do when we stand before Him because it's basically planning how to live out our faith "in fear and trembling."  It's unwise to be going about with the attitude of "oh, I'm getting into heaven anyway and God will just take whatever I do covered with His forgiveness."  Although, in a sick sense that's doesn't take a very healthy look at the precious quality of Jesus' blood.  

James 1:12, "Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him."  Wow...what an encouragement to live rightly under trials of any and every kind.  It shows the Lord's forethought and love for us...that he wants us to persevere and will help us! A crown of life could just be as simple as eternal matter what we go through...we are promised it!

1 Corinthians 9:24-25, "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever."

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