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Rule #1 - You don't have to "look" like a runner

God accepts us just as we are, regardless of our past, and only He can put our lives together.

Having seen many long distances runs on television and formed my own concept of what a marathon runner looks like, I concluded that I did not fit the mold. And yet the program manual insisted that anyone could run a marathon with the proper training. Anyone? They had to be kidding. I nervously awaited my first day of training - anticipating that I would see some "hard core" runners at the training site, or at least people that looked like they were in shape. Finally the big day arrived. As I glanced over the 100 or so participants, it certainly did not appear to be an athletic training session. To be honest, it looked more like the line at an all-you-can-eat buffet.

It wasn't long before I began to consider this scenario in terms of my Christian walk. First, I thought about how often I tend to judge superficially. As it states in 1 Samuel 16:7, we judge by outward appearances, while the Lord looks at the heart. I judged all the runners that day by their outward appearances. Second, I thought I should at least "look" like a runner in order to impress the marathoners. I bought new shoes and a new running outfit. Similarly, how often do we try to look spiritual? How often do we do "good" things but then announce them so that we get credit? We may fool a few people, but God knows our hearts and judges our motives. I also became overly confident because I had participated in collegiate athletics. I thought that I must be better suited for the training than others. This was a mistake: nothing could pre-qualify me for the race any more than anyone else. And on the contrary I almost counted myself out because I did not think I could do it. In the Lord's service, do not count yourself out of the race because you think you are not qualified. And don't think you can somehow get yourself together before you commit your life to Christ. Many of my friends did not run the marathon because they didn't think they were in shape. But they didn't have to be! The most important thing was the will to do it. Similarly, God accepts us just as we are, regardless of our past, and only He can put our lives together.

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Rule #1 - You don't have to "look" like a runner
Rule #2 - It's not a competition
Rule #3- Find a good pace group
Rule #4 - He who endures shall receive a crown
Rule #5- Don't look back
Rule #6- Drink water, drink water, drink water
Rule #7- Beware of the wall
Final Thoughts

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