When speaking of why he did what he did, why he disciplined himself the way he did, and did not go along with the crowd on every occasion, the “Missionary” Paul pointed to an athlete’s self-control in order to gain a prize that will one day fade away. (see here) He says “we do it to obtain a crown that will never fade away.” What was this “it” that he was speaking of?
It was discipline for the sake of the Gospel. He knew that just as an athlete would be motivated to greater exercise of discipline in order to receive a crown, so we would be motivated by the reality of eternal reward.
The Bible speaks of crowns that will be given to those who are found faithful doing what they do for “the Gospel’s sake” (See here, here, and here)
These are the crowns that we will cast at the feet of our King (see here). Do you want one to lay at his feet or do you see yourself just barely making it in to the kingdom? (see here)