“The crown has fallen from our head. Woe to us, for we have sinned!” Lamentations 5:16 (NIV)
I recently saw a golden crown lying sideways in the gutter. The royal symbol once adorning the the head of a chosen one now lay fallen like rubbish at the side of the road. On closer examination, it turned out to be just a child’s paper crown from the fast food restaurant nearby. But a certain sadness came over me at the thought of the crown being cast aside with such recklessness – the shine faded from its splendor by ongoing exposure to the elements.
For Christians, the crown represents something of great spiritual value – a higher calling and intense sacrificial love. The crown is an emblem of our faith and connection to a royal lineage with Christ Jesus. We ought to wear it with pride, polishing it as often as we can and vowing never to let it slip from its rightful position in our lives.
Yet I had to wonder – how often do we cast our spiritual crowns into the gutter?
When we sin as followers of Christ, it is as if we take the royal crown of holy living and chuck it into the filth, muck and gunk of the gutter. By doing so, we deny our priesthood with Jesus, made possible only by his obedient example of life, death and resurrection. Our crown fades as we leave it exposed to the elements. Before long, it goes from guarded treasure to discarded rubbish.
A wailing, moaning, mournful account
In the book of Lamentations, the Israelites knew the value and significance of their spiritual crown. They were a chosen people – the elect – once a mighty and leading nation. But that all began to change as hearts of rebellion rose up. Soon, they found themselves held captive by an evil king, choosing to bow down to worship the things of his earthly kingdom rather than holding fast in obedience to the call and crown God had given them.
The depth of their anguish is recorded in detail by Jeremiah as he weeps over Israel’s plight. Because of the disobedience of their ancestors, their temple was destroyed and Jerusalem left devastated. Lamentations is a wailing, moaning, mournful account over the loss of something once respectable and great.
“She who was queen among the provinces has now become a slave.” (Lam. 1:1 NIV).
The consequence of sin is a pressing weight, full of sorrow, as we grieve the loss of distinguished honor because of our disobedience. Like the Israelites, when we are disobedient toward God, we commit sin. The people of Israel experienced a shift in their spiritual, physical and cultural lives because of sinful choices and so do we.
In my own life I once sinned so greatly I was sure I had lost my crown forever. So, I made a choice to turn away from sin as the pressing sorrow kicked in. And then God, in all of His abundant grace, did an incredibly loving thing. He picked my fallen crown out of the nasty gutter, pounded out the dents, polished it anew and tenderly restored it back on my head.
In spite of our failures, God redeemed us by sending Jesus as payment for our sin. Let’s remember his great love and sacrifice – the kind of love which puts crowns on the heads of fallen people like us. Let us hold fast to our crowns and not let them slip into the gutter.
“Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.” Lam. 3:32 (NIV)
Check out an earlier post by Tammy here.