The LORD opens the eyes of the blind;
The LORD raises those who are bowed down;
The LORD loves the righteous.
A common concept in Anabaptist history is Gelassenheit. This word is typically translated into English as yieldedness. Its actual definition is far more involved.
What are some elements of Gelassenheit as evidenced in the Christian life?
Gelassenheit in a life is characterized by:
Total peace with relationship with God
Total submission to God and His Holy Spirit
A heart that is content with life
An unoffendable spirit
Following the example of Christ
Peace and resignation in suffering
Total reliance on the Holy Spirit
Total trust in the Scripture
Absolute confidence in God’s control of all things
Absolute confidence in trial and in death
Fearless when confronted and falsely accused
Unmovable when standing for the truth of God
Not doubting the truth of God
Not distracted by temptation and sin
Believing that truth is immortal –while earthly life is mortal
Having Godly discernment of spirits
Having a Biblical perspective on all issues
Having a heart for God
Believing and living and knowing that all is well with your soul
Trusting in the sufficiency of God
Faith that does not doubt
Love of God that meets people where they are
Living a life of following Jesus Christ
Not seeking things that are not Godly
Not tempted by worldly lusts
Gelassenheit is not:
Submission to religious authority that is not Godly.
To allow people to continue in sin without scriptural confrontation.
To excuse one’s behavior.
The essence of gelassenheit is contentment and confidence. Persons living in
Spiritual gelassenheit have peace of heart and quietness of spirit. The living God is living in them and they are so fulfilled that they are not looking for something to fill the voids because God has filled them. They are not attracted to and by sinful lusts because they have died to self and to sin. Their life is on the altar of God for His use. What ever God brings into their lives, they accept with gracious thankfulness. They focus on what is eternal, not on what is temporal.
That said, they are not persuaded by manipulation. Spiritual discernment and wisdom fill their lives and they try the spirits to see if they are of God or not. They are not threatened by loss of position or life. They will confront sin because sin is so destructive to the Kingdom of God. They have clarity about what is good and what is not.
These principles impact all of their relationships with other persons.
I had a recent discussion about Gelassenheit with some German friends. The German Grandmother was holding her new baby grand-daughter while listening to the conservation. She said, “This is gelassenheit.” There was nothing in the whole world that she would rather be doing than sitting peacefully holding her new, beautiful, sleeping, little grand-daughter.
For Christians experiencing gelassenheit, that is the perfect picture. There is nothing we would rather be doing than serving our Lord in the capacity in which He has called us and gifted us. What ever the cost, that is what we will do and we will do it with joy.
Gelassenheit is the absolute peace of heart experienced by a Christian living for God. You are not searching. You are not seeking. You are not anxious. In life and in death you are in peace. In stress and in trouble you are at peace. Take no thought for tomorrow is the watchword of gelassenheit.
Gelassenheit took the martyrs to death singing and preaching. Whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. May that peace and contentment of heart be your portion. May that peace carry you through these difficult days. May you experience the fullness of heart found only in serving the living God. May you not be distracted by the poison and politics around you.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication,
With thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,
Will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true,
Whatever things are noble,
Whatever things are just,
Whatever things are pure,
Whatever things are lovely,
Whatever things are of good report,
If there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—
Meditate on these things.
The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do,
And the God of peace will be with you.
Are you a controller?
Are you a leader?
Demand control and produce followers
Give up control and produce leaders
Empower the people who follow you and they will become leaders
Equip the members of the Church and lives will change
God will change the world through the gifts He has given to His Church
Jesus called people to follow Him
Jesus taught the people about the Kingdom of God
Jesus lived an exemplary life to show people how to live
Jesus gave us the Scriptures as a record of His life
Jesus died as the ultimate sacrifice of love for His people
Jesus gave His people the gift of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit gives people gifts to empower them for service in His Kingdom
Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus is building His Church today
Jesus is the Leader of His Church, His body, in this world today
Are you a leader?
Are you a follower?
To be a leader, you must first be a follower
To be a leader, you must first be a follower of Jesus Christ
If you are a follower, you are also a leader
If you are a follower, you have given up control
If you are a follower, you are under the control of God’s Holy Spirit
If you are a follower, you are broken before God
If you are a follower, you love the people God has given you to serve
If you are a follower, you are done with your own will
If you are a follower, your prayer and your life is God’s will
If you are a follower, Then you are a leader
My father was a strong man in many good ways. In some ways he was not strong. In other ways he was too strong. If he knew something was wrong, he did not do it. He could and did stand alone. Even if everyone else did wrong, he would not. He communicated that strength to me.
In some other ways he was too strong. He was the undisputed head of our home. He would not allow my mother to work outside the home anywhere, anytime, for any reason. He was the head of the home and he made the decisions. There was no whining. There was no challenge. There was no appeal. He made the decisions and we abode by his decisions.
My father was from a poor farm family. My mother was from a business family. My father did not know how to manage money. My mother did know how to manage money. She was not allowed to even know the family finances until they sometimes got so dire that it was impossible for Dad to hide the situation from her. It made her life very difficult.
My mother was a gift from God to my father. If he had honored and encouraged and employed her gift, we would have been a healthier, wealthier, and happier home. After my father died, my mother had enough money. The income stayed the same. The management changed.
Businesses, homes, missions, churches and schools have leaders. Leaders are given gifts in the lives of the people in their organizations. This is especially important in the Church. God says in Ephesians chapter four, that Christ has placed gifts in the Church. Those gifts are to be used to equip the members in the Church so they become Christ-like and mature.
Leaders need to submit to God’s plan because God has placed the gifts in the Church. Leaders need to submit to God and accept the gifts God gives. The gifts need to be recognized, encouraged, and employed for the health of the group of believers.
My father was a hard worker. He worked so many hours that I scarcely knew him. He loved us and was well intentioned but not always well directed. Our family suffered because of that. The Church has leaders who work hard. They care and are well intentioned. They feel a need to stay in control and sometimes do not notice the gifts God has placed in their care.
It would not have diminished my father’s authority to allow my mother’s gift to be used in our family. His principle was right but his application was wrong. It does not diminish Church leaders’ authority to allow and encourage Spiritual gifts to be employed in the fellowship.
Henry Ford was unbelievably successful. He would make a car any color you wanted as long as it was black. He was unyielding. Eventually his control had to yield to wiser minds or his company would have failed.
The Church today could be far more effective. With the same members, evangelism and teaching and ministry could be far more effective. It would not diminish the authority of the leaders to employ the gifts God has placed in their congregations. It would simply increase the ministry. Church politics causes the members suffer (like my family). Under careful God-given shepherding, the members thrive (like my family could have).
Where are you in this picture? You can be too controlling. You can be too passive. Leaders in the home, school, church, business have a responsibility to be leaders. Leaders notice and employ the gifts that God has given to them and to the ministry they lead. Leaders equip their members to serve.
Be a shepherd, in the home and in the Church. Do not lord it over the flock. God has placed gifts in His body, the Church. Recognize and employ the blessings of those gifts. That is what makes the body work effectively. It is what would have made our family work better.
Our father would have benefitted from the gifts of our mother. If only he could have seen her talents as a gift from God and not as a challenge to his position of authority.
In my distress I cried to the LORD, And He heard me.
Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips And from a deceitful tongue.
What shall be given to you, Or what shall be done to you, You false tongue?
Sharp arrows of the warrior, With coals of the broom tree!
Woe is me, that I dwell in Meshech, That I dwell among the tents of Kedar!
My soul has dwelt too long With one who hates peace.
I am for peace; But when I speak, they are for war.
The Lily of the Valley
I’ve found a friend in Jesus, He’s everything to me,
He’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul;
The Lily of the Valley, in Him alone I see
All I need to cleanse and make me fully whole.
In sorrow He’s my comfort, in trouble He’s my stay;
He tells me every care on Him to roll.
He all my grief has taken, and all my sorrows borne;
In temptation He’s my strong and mighty tower;
I’ve all for Him forsaken, and all my idols torn
From my heart and now He keeps me by His power.
Though all the world forsake me, and Satan tempt me sore,
Through Jesus I shall safely reach the goal.
He’ll never, never leave me, nor yet forsake me here,
While I live by faith and do His blessed will;
A wall of fire about me, I’ve nothing now to fear,
From His manna He my hungry soul shall fill.
Then sweeping up to glory to see His blessed face,
Where rivers of delight shall ever roll.
He’s the Lily of the Valley, the Bright and Morning Star,
He’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul.
97 Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.
98 You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; For they are ever with me.
99 I have more understanding than all my teachers, For Your testimonies are my meditation.
100 I understand more than the ancients, Because I keep Your precepts.
101 I have restrained my feet from every evil way, That I may keep Your word.
102 I have not departed from Your judgments, For You Yourself have taught me.
103 How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 Through Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way.
105 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.
106 I have sworn and confirmed That I will keep Your righteous judgments.