The Christian life is difficult, at times–something we all can relate to. It involves sacrifices and sometimes persecutions, and occasionally we get discouraged. We might even want to quit.
The writer of Hebrews compares it to a race, and I suspect he’s thinking of a long-distance run, not a sprint. When you’re running a marathon, for example, the adrenaline runs out in the first part of the race, and you have to tough it out in order to finish.
The Christian life is similar. We begin with exuberance, so thrilled that we’ve been saved by God’s grace. Like the thorny soil in the Parable of the Sower, we’re excited about our new relationship with Christ. But then the sun starts to get hot, and the excitement wears out, and we’ve got to decide if we’ll keep going.
In our text, the writer beautifully urges his people to think about others who’ve run the race and to recognize the importance of endurance. He encourages them to identify the weights (sins) that might be holding them back, and then he helps them see Jesus as the one who’s run the race before them–and who endured the horrors of the cross in order to finish the race.
I hope this sermon and text will encourage all of our members to hang in there even when it gets hard, and that it’ll help younger Christians not to be surprised when the discouraging times come. God is faithful, and when we keep our eyes on Christ, he’ll make sure we finish the race and receive the crown.