"Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." Revelation 2:10 KJV
This was written to The Church of Smyrna which was the time from 100 AD until 313 AD Edict of Milan. During this time Rome persecuted Christians heavily. As faith in Christ made it's way out among people it came in contact with the culture and there was a violent forceful reaction. Like dropping a mentos candy into a coke bottle there is a reaction. This reaction happens for a set period of time and then dies down.
This is the recommendation given by God to weather the storm. Become one who trusts until death and I will give you a crown, wreath a victor wears, of life. If you become one who trusts you will not just survive... you will thrive.
Christ wore a crown of thorns that was roughly placed upon His head and hurt Him deeply but we will one day see Him wear His crown of gold (Rev 14:14). He gently places a wreathe of victory on our heads when we manifest our believing at the time when culture clashes with faith.
'Be faithful' is in the middle voice. That means it is an action we perform on ourselves. We choose to mix faith with truth constantly.
In Rome to be faithful unto death perhaps meant to die in the Coliseum. That would have been a possible consequence of living a life of faith.
Today in this moment we can become faithful all the way unto the death of Christ on the cross. The cross was not a place of our suffering... it was the place of His suffering. It was the place of His death and it becomes the place where we die. That death was at the right place and time. We take the moment we live in and bring our faith to that place and God does something miraculous. He takes the victory that is already on our account because of Christ and places it gently on our head in the form of a crown.
No winner who wears a Stephanos crown will suffer in shame. Someone who wears that crown will hold their head high. They walk in the procession of the victors.
The elements that cause reaction in our lives will eventually fizzle out, like the edict of Milan ended Christian persecution in Rome, but the crown gently resting on each individuals head will remain forever.
Christ has made us to be overcomers. I purpose to live in that victory today.