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Rule #3- Find a good pace group

Do you listen to people who discourage you to go against the principles of God?

There were about 100 people participating in the large Saturday group runs at my particular site, divided into "pace groups". I was in the 12-minute mile group with 8 other runners. There were pace groups as fast as 7 minutes and some as "less fast" as 16 minutes (I have learned there is no such thing as "slow" in this training!). Thus, I ran with the same smaller group every Saturday. We shared the trials and triumphs of running over the 26-weeks and as the miles gradually increased each week we continued to encourage one another. If someone was having a "bad day" we prodded him or her along. We talked a lot during our runs so I was able to learn a lot about the people in my pace group.

This component of the training forced me to consider my own "pace group" in life, my most intimate circle of friends. I even mused at the fact that my parents have always called them my "running buddies". Am I surrounding myself with fellow believers that are of like mind? Are we helping one another to grow in Christ or are we stumbling blocks for one another? Proverbs 13:20 testifies to the fact that we are who we hang with. Are we running with the wise or associating with fools? A friend relayed her frustration to me about discussing relationships with others because they often chastise her for refusing to "shack up." It discouraged her so much that she began to second-guess her relationship and her stand on purity. Do you listen to people who discourage you to go against the principles of God?

The Bible reiterates the importance of meeting together with fellow Christians. Church is our big "group run" that takes place every Sunday. I was at my training site every Saturday morning at 5:50 am to receive instruction, rejoice over the week's accomplishments and train. I was there to equip myself for the run. Likewise, it is just as important for us to be in church, on time, ready to receive instruction and enter into worship and praise to equip ourselves for the run. Becoming equipped to go out and perform God's work is not solely the job of the pastor and the deacons. We in the body of Christ must also minister in our communities and we must receive instruction to do so adequately. As Ephesians 4:11-12 states plainly, He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.

I next considered the importance of having so many different pace groups at varying speeds. One of the rules of the program was to always cheer and encourage other groups on the trail. We in the body of Christ must encourage other believers. They may not be in our close knit pace group, but we are all a part of the larger family of believers. Sometimes I look at the faster groups and think that possibly one day I'll be able to get to that level for another marathon (not in an envious or competitive way - let's not forget rule #2!). But I know that is not my pace right now, and while I strive for that level of performance, I do not get out of "order" and move ahead of the training plan. In the same manner we should not get ahead of God's plan for our lives. However, I do enjoy talking to people in those groups just to glean some insight from them. Similarly, we can look to mature Christians. It is important to incorporate those relationships in our lives. For instance, if I want to be in a Godly marriage one day, should I only surround myself with singles that may have a skewed expectation of marriage? Of course not. I should also interact with Christian married couples that can share the challenges and joys of the marriage covenant. Our friends can either help us to stretch our vision or choke our dreams. Check your pace group.

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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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