In this Introduction of Gentle and Lowly, Dane Ortlund opens his book in this way:
This is a book about the heart of Christ. Who is he? Who is he really? What is most natural to him? What ignites within him most immediately as he moves toward sinners and sufferers? What flows out most freely, most instinctively? Who is he?
As you read these words, how would your heart answer this question? Please share with us what your natural, default understanding of Christ’s heart appears to be.
What does God think about you?
At the close of the Introduction, Ortlund writes:
So with Christ. It is one thing to know the doctrines of the incarnation and the atonement and a hundred other vital doctrines. It is another, more searching matter to know his heart for you.
This paragraph leads me to ask at least two questions.
The first is, “what study have you done to gain clarity about the central doctrines of the Christian faith?”
The second is, “how have these doctrines shaped not only your mind - but your heart?”
Yet I find it fascinating that Dane Ortlund takes it a step further. What we think about God is important. But too often we learn this information as if we are studying for an exam. (Perhaps because seminary students often are studying for exams!).
But I think a better context is the one that Ortlund provides, that of marriage. We could also think of a great friendship.
In either scenario, I believe our desire to know the other person is not so much that we can have the ‘right’ understanding but more so that we can be close to our friend or spouse.
As a final question for discussion: what habits or routines help you know Christ’s heart for you? Do you want to know Christ’s heart for you?