Summary: Part one of this two part series focuses on how we can have peace in the midst of our troubles. The example used is a track runner who runs the hurdles.
“Hurdles And The Peace Of God…”
How many of you have had a long week? How many of you have had a long 2015? This morning I want to briefly share with you from a topic of “Hurdles And The Peace Of God.” This will be part one of two. Before I say anything else, I want to give you the definition of two words, Perfect and Constant. Perfect is defined as “complete in all respect, flawless.” Constant is defined as “not changing, continual, persistent.” Please keep these two definitions in mind as they will really be important towards the end of this message. Do you know that no matter how long your week, month or year has been you can find the peace that God has promised you?
When Jesus was preparing to leave His disciples, He told them the following as recorded in John 14:1-3, 27 “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also……Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid.” Jesus was leaving His disciples but He wanted to provide them with a sense of peace. They did not understand it at the time and it would be days before the peace arrived, but He was preparing them to receive it. He wanted them to know that the days ahead would be dark, but peace would come to them from Him. This peace would be provided from within, not without. In other words, they would experience troubles but they could still be peaceful within. The world provides peace by removing the things that are troubling us – Jesus provides peace in spite of what may be troubling us.
After God created the heavens and the earth, He made a garden and placed man in the midst of it. Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden in total peace. Even the animals were at peace with one another in the garden. They did not have to worry about food, a job, the weather, anything. There was total peace and everything was operating according to the will of God. They were literally in paradise on earth. They did not have any of the worries of this world. As long as they walked with God, they had and lived in total peace. But it was disrupted. When you read the story you find that once sin entered into the world, the peace was gone. Sin corrupted the hearts and minds of mankind and the sense of complete peace was lost. When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden they experienced for the first time stress and concern. We know this because in in Genesis 3:8-9 records the following; “They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ He said, ‘I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” Adam and Eve hid themselves from God, not just because they were naked, but they had an understanding of what they had done. Verse seven says that their eyes were both opened after Adam ate of the fruit. They now had an immediate understanding of sin, shame, disobedience and more important – no peace. Proverbs 28:1 says “The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, but the righteous are bold as a lion.” Adam and Eve, prior to their sin, stood boldly in the presence of the Lord. Why?, because they had not sinned and their minds were at peace. However, after they sinned, their minds were no longer at peace and they fled before the presence of the Lord. Proverbs says that the wicked flees even when no one is chasing. This is very true. When someone is doing or has done wrong, they are constantly looking over their shoulders. They are constantly on edge. This is a prime definition of what it means to not have peace! If you are doing wrong or have done wrong until you get it right with the Lord, you will not experience His peace. He will give you the strength, if you allow, to get it right with the other person if necessary. Adam and Eve fled from God because they had sinned – they had lost their sense of peace and security. They experienced fear for the first time. All of these led them to hide themselves from God. If you’re running and no one is chasing you, it’s time to get it right so that you can really enjoy the peace of God!