“Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what
you have, that no one may take your crown.”
The above verse, taken from Jesus’ message to the Seven Churches of Asia, upon closer inspection, constitutes a real challenge to all of us. It has a number of components and we can look at these individually and learn some important truths from them. So then, let’s dissect this verse in the following way:
In other words Jesus is saying, “Listen to this!” He is therefore going to say something very important and He doesn’t want His people to miss it.
2. I am coming quickly!
Some may think that after 2000 years this promise is a bit hollow; but it is not. The truth is, the prospect of His coming keeps our spiritual lives sharp and healthy. Jesus is coming quickly and if this was true 2000 years ago then how much more today when we see the signs of His soon coming everywhere. Just think, we are that generation that has witnessed the restoration of Israel and the building up of Zion. These things are remarkable, they are vouched for in the Word of God and we are the only generation that has witnessed them.
3. Hold fast what you have!
In other words, do not go backwards in your spiritual development but stay at the place of spiritual maturity that God in Christ has brought you to. Paul emphasized this in his letter to the Philippian Church (Philippians 3:12-16). The dedicated Christian is to always press on in his or her pursuit of Christ and must not fall back into old ways and habits that displease God. John Wesley, the 18th century revivalist, called “holding fast” the place of perfection. By this he did not mean that Christians in this life could become sinless but rather, perfection meant maintaining the level of spiritual maturity which God, by the Holy Spirit, had brought His people to. The question then is, “Are you perfect?” If you hold fast to what Jesus has already given you so far then you are!
4. That no one take your crown!
This is an amazing statement because it implies that what God meant especially for you to have can be given to another. Your crown of spiritual accomplishment can be transferred to someone else! There is a place reserved for you on earth that constitutes your potential and destiny. Jesus has a plan for your life that, if fulfilled by His grace, is your crown. This statement by Jesus teaches us that if God can’t find you worthy of and faithful to this plan He will find someone else to accomplish what He called you in the first place to do. The question then is, “Who has your crown?” Hopefully the answer will be, “I do.”
It must be remembered that these words were addressed to the Church at Philadelphia which was the only church that received a strong and ringing word of approval and endorsement from Jesus as He addressed the Seven Churches of Asia. The point is, these were healthy Christians and yet Jesus gives them a stern warning because He knows how easy it is to let one’s spiritual guard and alertness down and thereby be weakened and possibly fail. Paul, writing to the Philippian Church, states that we must renew our commitment to Christ every day. He says, “As you have therefore received Christ Jesus The Lord, so walk in Him.” (Colossians 2:6) in other words, start every day with Jesus in the way that you first began to walk with and love Him.
Perhaps the best way to respond to Jesus’ exhortation is to also remember that Paul said we are to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling.” (Philippians 2:12) So, be strong in the Lord, always be watchful and prayerful and keep your eyes on the sky because Jesus is coming soon!