The cross and crown. No, that’s not the name of an English pub; it’s a pair of biblical symbols that is often used in church architecture and design, the one overlaid upon the other. It describes the two phases of the saving work of Jesus Christ–that he suffered death on a cross so that he might receive the crown of heaven as King of kings and Lord of lords.

Those two symbols are also metaphors for two phases of your life. Jesus invites all of his followers to pick up their own crosses and follow him, but he promises a place in his throne room to all who hold fast to him in faith and refuse to let sin, Satan, hardship, or loss induce them to throw away their treasure: “I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. Those who overcome I will make pillars in the temple of my God” (Revelation 3:11,12).

What is your cross? Anything you suffer or give up or have taken from you because you are a Christian. Anything it costs you to follow Jesus–friends, money, position, perks, rank, status, or advantages. What is the crown Jesus promises? His holiness upon your head like an aura; status as prince or princess in the heavenly courts; a position at his side as he judges and rules the world; an everlasting relationship with him and all the saints.

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