I speak at conferences in cities all over the world and sometimes I ask our crew to place a rocking chair in a conspicuous place on the stage. Occasionally, while I am speaking, I’ll walk over and sit in the chair and begin to rock.
I don’t do this because I’m tired or because I want to give the impression that I’m relaxed. I do this to illustrate a point. When you rock in a rocking chair, you generate a lot of activity and movement—back and forth, back and forth. But no matter how active you may appear to be, you never actually go anywhere. You can be really active, vigorously moving back and forth, but you’ll never accomplish anything. You’ll always stay right where you started.
Like the rocking chair, we all get involved in things every day that appear to be necessary. We’re moving around a lot and generating a lot of activity, but we’re not accomplishing a thing.
For example, we can get upset and worry and stew about situations we couldn’t change if we tried. We can fret and be anxious about things and call our friends and talk about those things. We can read articles that deal with those things or watch television shows that deal with those subjects. But none of those things will change our circumstances at all.
I want to share a Bible verse with you. John 14:27 says, Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled] (AMP).
Now let me explain the context of this verse to you because it’s very important. This verse includes some of the very last words Jesus spoke to His disciples before He ascended into heaven. Now think about that for a minute. Imagine that you are getting ready to go on a long trip and just before you walk out the door, you turn to your family… What do you say? You say the most important things—those things you don’t want them to forget.
That’s the way it was with Jesus. He knew He was getting ready to leave them and wanted to pass along some of the most important things He could think of. He told them to stop allowing themselves to be agitated and disturbed, and not to permit themselves to be fearful and intimidated, cowardly or unsettled.
Did you realize that these things are about choices that you make? You don’t have to live a life filled with agitation and fear. You don’t have to be intimidated and unsettled. Having peace is a choice. You can actually choose to walk in the peace that Jesus was referring to in that verse above.
Now, there is a “worldly” kind of peace that people have when everything is going their way and they’re getting everything they want. But anyone can have peace when everything is going their way. That’s not difficult at all; in fact, it’s natural.
But the way that we show the real power of God in our lives is when we have many of the same kinds of unpleasant circumstances that other people have and yet, while they are upset and unsettled, wasting their time worrying and fretting, we’re peaceful and calm, enjoying life right in the midst of the trials and tribulations.
You can wish you didn’t get upset and fretful. You can wish you didn’t become anxious and agitated. But just like the rocking chair doesn’t actually take you anywhere, just wishing for something never accomplishes anything.
What about you? Are you choosing peace today? Remember the rocking chair. Don’t fall into the trap of busying yourself with fretting and worrying about circumstances that you cannot change.
No matter what your circumstances may be, having peace and contentment is a choice you make. You no longer have to live under your circumstances. Get up out of the rocking chair and make the bold choice to walk in the peace of Christ!