"Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life." Rev. 2:10
A crown of life is not automatic. The word of the Lord Jesus is to be faithful until death. Interestingly, He did not say love unto death, rejoice until death, attend church until death, be courageous until death, or even fight sin and do good works until death. He simply said: "Be faithful unto death."
Being faithful is being full of faith, but it does not always mean we feel full of faith. Sometimes we are plagued with fears, doubts, temptations,
and torments. Sometimes we don't know which way is up. We are discouraged or betrayed. Being faithful unto death has more to do with not giving up on God no matter what happens in life than with anything else. Being faithful sometimes comes down to just a holy stubbornness in the ways of God.
So many people begin the Christian life well, but they fade as time goes on. They get distracted by the things of the world, or they start building their own kingdoms instead of the Kingdom of God. As I have pointed out before, many times the greatest opposition to great men and women of God has come from within the church.
God is not searching for talent. God is not looking for wealth. God does not care about someone's fame. God is looking for men and women - of all ages - who will be faithful. They are not going to abandon Him when the going gets tough. They will fall - as we all do - but they will rise again. Peter is a great example. He fell - denied Christ 3 times - but he rose again. He was weak, but he was faithful.
Be faithful unto death. Sometimes faithfulness is tested by persecution, torture, and pain. Sometimes the fear of death itself attacks us, although no Christian who understands what he or she has in Christ should fear death.
Sometimes we think that persecution - which is the specific context of Rev. 2:10 - is the only way to be faithful unto death. No, Jesus wants ALL His disciples to be faithful until death even if they live healthy lives until they are 120. Every life will be tried and tempted in different ways. Are you faithful to your pastor and church or are you complaining and divisive? Are you faithful to represent Christ at home and work? Do you order your life according to God's requirements? Do you even know what His requirements are [if you haven't studied Biblical Law you may not]?
It is not how you start the race that
counts, but how you finish. I am sure there are many Godly elderly
ladies who have lived faithful, but uneventful, lives that will receive
the crown of life while others hang their heads in shame.
Be faithful your whole life long...receive the crown of life at the end.