Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers by Dane Ortlund was released earlier this year. One of our members, Deborah Geesling, recently read it and we asked if she would share her thoughts on the book for the blog!
Deborah, how would you sum up the content of this book in a few sentences?
With the Bible and rich writings of the Puritans as his guide, Dane Ortlund carefully brings forth a breathtaking view of the love of Jesus. The author explores Matthew 11:28-30 where Christ divulges his very heart. The chapters are short and easy to read, but overflowing with opulent truth.
Is there a specific audience this book is primarily geared toward?
This book is written for every Christian.
What did you see as the overall goal of this book?
To help Christians have a greater understanding of God's tender heart toward them and what that looks like in their everyday lives.
What did you like the most about this book?
My favorite chapter near the end of the book had the most intriguing title, "Yearning Bowels." Ortlund writes about God's yearning from Jeremiah 31:20 for his own people. Despite their sinfulness on full display, he surprises them by giving them what they do not deserve. More than a legal declaration of mercy, similar to a cold courtroom ruling, God shares his heart for his people even in full blown rebellion, "My heart yearns for him." As I ended this chapter, I was in awe of Jesus. I was challenged by Ortlund's call to repent of my "small thoughts of God's heart. Repent and let him love you."
How did this book affect you personally?
Hands down my greatest struggle as a Christian has been with condemnation. I found myself in tears as I read each chapter slowly and pondered the beautiful character of Christ and could hardly believe Jesus would love me this way! I am able see his grace and promises in a fresh way, as greater than my sin. It's helped me to look less at myself and to see Jesus as my champion who conquered sin with an incomprehensible heart of love for me and others.
How does this book point us to Jesus?
This book points us to Jesus not only as the one who legally justified believers at the cross, but the one who personally displays his very heart to us daily through compassionate and powerful intercession. He welcomes us in all of our failings, but it's not with a scowl. He embraces us with a tender heart that seems almost too good to be true!
Who would YOU recommend this book to?
I would recommend this book to Christians who have struggled with condemnation and legalism, who view God as a frowning Father that is consistently disappointed with them.
Is there anything else you'd like to share about this book?
In the midst of these unsettling times, this book is a treasure because it helps us to see and know Jesus better. The chapters are short and easy to read. I used it as a devotional each day and I'm reading it again because there's so much to savor. I don't think I'm overstating it when I say that "Gentle and Lowly" is probably one of the most important Christian books of our time.
Thank you so much for taking the time to share this with all of us, Deborah!
Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers can be purchased for $16.50 on Amazon.com