gentle and lowly
Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers
(2020) by dane ortland @daneortland.. via srh
this book is for they weary.. the empty.. for those who know god loves us but suspect we have deeply disappointed him…
1 – his very heart
89 chapters and only one place where jesus tells us about his own heart.. mt 11:28-30.. come to me i .. for i am gentle (understanding) and lowly (accessible) in heart and you will find rest for your souls..
your very burden qualifies you to come.. no strings
2 – his heart in action
what was his deepest anguish? the anguish of others.. what drew his heart to point of tears? the tears of others
it is the very fallenness which he came to undo that is most irresistibly attractive to him.. his most natural instinct it so move toward that sin and suffering.. not away from it
miracles are not an interruption fo the natural order but the restoration of the natural order.. we are so used to a fallen world that sickness, disease, pain, and death seem natural.. in fact.. they are the interruption.. healings are not miracles in an natural world.. they are the only truly ‘natural’ thing in a world that is unnatural, demonized and wounded
jesus walked the earth rehumanizing the dehumanized.. his heart refused to let him sleep in.. sadness confronted him in eery town..
thru his spirit.. chris’s own heart envelope his people w an embrace nearer/tighter than any physical embrace could ever achieve..
3 – the happiness of christ
he wants us
4 – able to sympathize
not cool/detached pity.. his is a love that cannot be held back when he sees his people in pain.
he knows what it is to be lonely
his utter purity suggests that he has felt these pains more acutely than we sinners ever could
not yet scrambled ness et al
he cannot bear to hold himself at a distance.. his heart is too bound up w yours
5 – he can deal gently
jesus does not throw his hands up in the air when he engages sinners.. he is calm, tender ,soothing, restrained.. he deals w us gently.. w whom does he ‘deal gently? .. ‘with the ignorant and wayward’.. not two kinds of milder sinners, cordoned off from the major sinners.. this is the writer’s way of including everyone..
in ot 2 kinds of sin.. unwillful and willful.. accidental and deliberate.. unintentional and w a high hand.. (this is ignorant and wayward)
what elicits tenderness from jesus is not the severity of the sin but whether the sinner comes to him.. whatever our offense, he deals gently w us.. he doesn’t handle us roughly.. he doesn’t scowl and scold.. he doesn’t lash out the way man y o four parents did.. and all this restrain on his part is not because he has a diluted view of our sinfulness.. he knows our sinfulness far more deeply than we do.. we are aware of just the tip of the iceberg of our depravity.. even in our most searching moments of self knowledge.. his restraint simply flows form his tender heart for his people.. hebrews is not just telling us that instead of scolding us jesus loves us.. it’s telling us the kind of love he has.. rather than dispensing grace to us from on high.. he gets down w us.. puts his arms around us.. deals w us in the way that is just what we need.. he deals gently w us
nothing can chain his affections to heaven; his heart is too swollen w endearing love..
when jesus deals gently w us.. he is doing what is most fitting/natural to him.. were there not an absolute sufficiency of this disposition in him.. our sinfulness runs so deep that tepid measure of gentleness from jesus would be enough.. but as deep our sinfulness runs, ever deeper runs his gentleness..
contrary to what we expect to be the case.. the deeper into weakness/suffering/testing we go.. the deeper christ’s solidarity w us.. as we go down into pain/anguish, we are descending ever deeper into christ’s very heart.. not away from it..
he deals gently w you.. it’s the only way he knows how to be.. as long as you fix your attention on your sin.. you sill fail to see how you can be safe.. as long as you look to his high priest (earlier defined as connection to god..unlike human priests) .. you will fail to see how you can be in danger.. looking inside selves.. can anticipate only harshness form heaven.. looking out to christ.. can anticipate only gentleness
6 – i will never cast out
john 6:37 – ‘whoever comes to me i will never cast out’
john bunyan’s (poor and uneducated) the pilgrim’s progress.. beside the bible history’s best selling book.. but he also authored 57 other books.. one of loveliest.. come and welcome to jesus (1678) on john 6:37..
his fav verse .. but in this book he zeroes in on it.. ie: ‘all’ not most; ‘gives’ not haggles over; ‘whoever comes’ not robots not dragged kicking and screaming against our will.. divine grace is os radical it reaches down and turns around our very desires.. our eyes are opened.. and anyone ‘whoever’ is welcome; ‘comes to me’ not to a set of doctrines…. not to a church.. not even to the gospel.. we come to a person
in the center of his book he confronts our innate suspicions of christ’s deepest heart.. bunyan: ‘if there had not been a proneness in us to ‘fear casing out’.. christ needed not to have waylaid our fear as he does by this great/strange expression ‘in no wise’.. there needed not such a promise to be invented by the wisdom of heaven and worded at such a rate as it were on purpose to dash in pieces at one blow all the objections of coming sinners.. if they were not prone to admit of such objections .. to the discouraging of their own souls.. ‘in no wise’.. to help the faith that is mixed w unbelief.. as it were.. the sum of all promises; neither can any objection be made upon the unworthiness that you find in yourself that his promise will not assoil (sic?).. the promise was provided to answer all objections and does answer them‘
‘in no wise’ 17th capturing the emphatic negative of the greek.. literally reads.. not not as in never ever.. what bunyan calls ‘this great and strange expression’.. what is bunyan after?.. to calm us w the persevering nature of the heart of christ.. we say ‘but i’.. he says ‘i will never cast out’..
fallen anxious sinners are limitless in their capacity to perceive reasons for jesus to cast them out.. we are factories of fresh resistances to christ’s love.. even when we run out of tangible reasons to be cast out.. such as specific sins/failure.. we tend to retain a vague sense that .. given enough time.. jesus will finally grow tired of us and hold us at arm’s length.. ‘there’s perversity down inside me (past and present and don’t know if i can break free of this any time soon) that is hidden from everyone’.. ‘i know it all.. i understand.. that’s the only kind of person i’m here to help’..
we cannot present a reason for christ to finally close off his heart to his own sheep.. no such reason exists.. every human friend has a limit.. w christ our sins/weaknesses are the very *resume items that qualify us to approach him.. nothing but coming to him is required
*oi to that thinking.. no strings/resume/qualifying ness
perhaps it isn’t sins so much as sufferings that cause some of us to question the perseverance of the heart of christ.. as pain piles.. as numbness takes over.. we conclude.. we have been cast out..
only thing required to enjoy such love is to come to him.. he does not say ‘whoever comes to me w sufficient contrition.. or feeling bad enough for sin.. or w redoubled efforts’.. he says ‘whoever comes to me i will never cast out’..
we cling to him to be sure.. but our grip is that of a 2 yr old amid the stormy waves of life.. his sure grasp never falters.. psalm 63:8 expresses the double sided truth: ‘my soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me‘..
we are talking about something deeper than the doctrine of eternal security ‘once saved always saved’..
yes.. professing christian can fall away.. proving they were never truly in christ.. once united to christ.. nothing that can dis unite them.. what keeps him from growing cold? his heart.. we are safe eternally.. but a text such as john 6:37 reassures us that this is not only a matter of divine decree but divine desire.. this is heaven’s delight.. i will embrace you into my deepest being and never let you go..
‘but i..’ raise your objections.. none can threaten these invincible words: ‘whoever comes to me i will never cast out’.. you are not a tenant you are a child.. his heart is not a ticking time bomb.. his heart is the green pastures and still waters of endless reassurances of his presence and comfort.. whatever our present spiritual *accomplishments.. it is who he is
7 – what our sins evoke
letting god set the terms by which he will love us
8 – to the uttermost
we are declared right w god not once we begin to get our act together but once we collapse into honest acknowledgment that we never will
intercession is the *constant hitting ‘refresh’ of our **justification in the court of heaven
**oi to that
he justifies by bestowing upon us, not by expecting from us
‘to the uttermost’ in hebrews 7:25 means: god’s forgiving, redeeming, restoring touch reaches down into the darkest crevices of our souls, those places where we are most ashamed, most defeated.. more than this: those crevices of sin are themselves the places where christ loves us the most.. his heart willingly goes there.. his heart is most strongly drawn there.. he know us to he uttermost and he save us to he uttermost.. because his heart is draw out of us to the uttermost.. we cannot sin our way out of his tender care.. ‘he always lives to make intercession for them’
he does not forgive us thru cross and then hope we make it the rest of the way.. he never disengages.. never lets go.. wishing us ell.. he carries us all the way.. in the present..
9 – an advocate
god’s way of encouraging us not to throw in the towel.. he cannot bear to leave us alone to fend for ourselves..
fallen humans are natural self advocates.. self defending.. *we do not need to teach young children to make excuses when they are **caught misbehaving.. there is a natural built in mech that immediately kicks into gear to explain why it wasn’t really their fault.. our fallen hearts intuitively manufacture reason that our case is not really the abad.. the fall is manifested not only in our sinning but in our response to our sinning.. we minimize/excuse/explain away..
**this is the deeper thing/cancer that we teach kids.. supposed to ness
what if we never needed to advocate for ourselves because another had undertaken to do so.. we would be free.. free of the need to defend ourselves..
10 – the beauty of the heart of christ
jonathan edwards (1740).. on humans built in pull toward beauty.. he sought to woo people w the beauty of christ.. the loveliness of his heart.. seeing his greatness is not our deepest need..
they come to one who is.. ‘conjoined w the sweetest grace.. one that clothes himself w mildness and meekness and love’.. we are startled by the beauty of his welcoming heart.. the surprise is what draws us in ..
a heart that is gentle and lowly.. so let the heart of jesus be something that i snot only gentle toward you but lovely to you.. ponder him thru his heart.. allow yourself to be allured.. why not build in to your life unhurried quiet.. where you consider the radiance of who he actually is.. what his deepest delight is.. why not give your soul room to be reenchanted w christ time and again..
job as parents?.. at the center.. show our kids that even our best love isa shadow of a greater love.. to make the tender heart of christ irresistible and unforgettable.. our goal is that our kids would leave the house at 18 and be unable to live the rest of their lives believing that their sins and sufferings repel christ..
oh my oh my
our goal is that our kids would .. be unable to live the rest of their lives believing that their sins and sufferings repel christ..
11 – the emotional life of christ
(on 2 being compassion and anger) a compassion less christ could never have gotten angry at the injustices all around him.. loves too much to remain indifferent.. (w/o a hint of sin tainting that anger)
12 – a tender friend
a friend who will always enjoy rather than refuse our presence.. a companion whose embrace of us does not strengthen/weaken depending on how clean/unclean/attractive/revolting/faithful/fickle we presently are.. the friendliness of his heart is fixed..
what if you had a friend .. whom you knew would never raise his eyebrows at what you share w him.. what if there were a friend w no limit.. no ceiling on what he would put up w and still want to be w you..
with a good friend, you don’t need to constantly fill in all gaps of silence w words.. you can just be warmly present together.. quietly relishing each other’s company..
no words ness et al
not only heals our feelings of rejection w his embrace.. but heals our aloneness w his sheer companionship.. (goes w you on journey)
sibbes: ‘.. if we not be ashamed of him.. he will never be ashamed of us’
disagree if i’m reading that right.. i don’t see that string attached
13 – why the spirit
the spirit makes the heart of christ real to us: not just heard, but seen; not just seen, but felt; not just felt but enjoyed.. theory to reality, doctrine to experience..
the spirit replaces sorrow w joy.. the answer to how jesus can leave bodily while leaving his heart behind.. the spirit is the continuation of the heart of christ after the departure of jesus to heaven.. ‘he shall be a better comforter unto you than i am.. in my bodily presence..
he shall tell you.. nothing but stories of my love.. so that we may know way down deep the endless grace of the heart of god..
14 – father of mercies
15 – his natural work and his strange work
mercy natural .. judgement strange/unnatural [there is a kind of violence done to himself in it (justice).. something in it contrary to him.. there is always something in his heart against it .. but mercy is his nature/disposition.. he does it w his whole heart .. nothing in him against it.. it pleases him – 139].. [he does afflict and grieve the children of men.. but not from his heart – 144]
16 – the lord, the lord
yahweh needs no provoking in love.. only in anger.. slow to anger.. can’t get rid of my grace to you.. can’t outrun my mercy.. my heart is set on you..
the christian life is the long journey of letting our *natural assumptions about who god is.. over many decades.. fall away.. being slowly replace w god’s own insistence on who he is.. this is **hard work.. it ***takes a lot of sermons and a lot of suffering to believe that god’s deepest heart is ‘merciful and gracious, slow to anger‘
oh my.. ***the sermons have been part of the cancer.. that made us believe otherwise.. no?
perhaps satan’s greatest victory in your life is not the sin in which you regularly indulge but the dark thoughts of god’s heart that cause you to go there in the first place and keep you cool toward him in the wake of it
17 – his ways are not our ways
the natural flow of the *fallen human heart is toward reciprocity, tit for tat payback, equanimity, balancing of the scales.. we are far more intractably law ish than we realized.. **there is something healthy and glorious buried in that impulse of course.. made in god’s own imagine.. we desire order and fairness rather than chaos.. but that impulse.. has been diseased.
**yeah.. i don’t think so.. i think that’s still whalespeak.. i don’t think it’s a natural impulse at all.. i think it’s part of and perpetuates the disease.. any form of m\a\p.. of clinging to hard won order et al..
he intends to restore you into the radian resplendence for which you were created.. and that is dependent not on you keeping yourself clean but on you taking your mess to him..
18 – yearning bowels
not the you you wish you were.. yearning for the *real you.. the you underneath everything you present to others.. we need to understand that however long we have been walking with lord.. whether we have never read the whole bible or have a phd in it.. **we have a perverse resistance to this.. out of his heart flows mercy; out of ours, reluctance to receive it.. we are the cool and calculating ones.. not he.. ***god’s heart confounds our intuition
***rather.. confounds our trained whale brains
the world is starving for a yearning love, a love that remembers instead of forsakes.. a love that isn’t tied to our loveliness..
19 – rich in mercy
if mercy was something he simply had, while his deepest nature was something diff.. there would b e a limit on how much mercy he could dole out.. but if he is essentially merciful, then for him to pour out mercy is for him to act in accord w who he is..
(on hypocrisy).. we can be immoral dead people or we can be moral dead people.. either way, we’re dead.. fraudulently good people and obviously bad people.. [the things that make you cringe more make him hug hardest – 180]
20 – our law ish hearts, his lavish heart
the purpose of his chapter.. thru galatians.. is to bring the hear of christ to bear on our chronic tendency to function out of a subtle belief that our obedience strengthen s the love of god..
look at what he (john newton) diagnoses as the bottom line source of our resistance to these assurances: ‘a legal spirit’.. to seek to leverage favor w our behavior..
doing works unto approval .. resisting christ’s very heart
there is an entire psychological substructure that, due to the fall, is a near constant manufacturing of relational leveraging, fear stuffing, nervousness, score keeping, neurotic controlling, anxiety festering silliness that is not something we say or even think so much as something we exhale.. you can smell it on people, though some of us are good at hiding it.. and if you trace this fountain of scurrying haste, in all its various manifestations, down to the root, you don’t find childhood difficulties or a myers brigs diagnosis or freudian impulses.. you find gospel deficit.. you find lack of felt awareness of christ’s heart.. all the worry/dysfunction/resentment are the natural fruit of living in a mental universe of law.. the felt love of christ is what bring s rest, wholeness, flourishing, shalom.. lets you step in out of the storm of of-works-ness.. can see.. nothing can touch you.. he will never cast you out..
these are surface symptoms.. law ish ness, of works ness.. is by its very nature undetectable because it’s natural, not unnatural, to us.. it feels normal.. ‘of works’ to fallen people is what water is to fish
the sun of christ’ heart, not the clouds of my sins, that now defines me.. the loved and restored you therefore trumps, outstrips, swallows up, the unrestored you.. not the other way around
maté trump law et al
let the heart of christ calm us into joy..
we sin.. not just in the past but in the present.. not only by our *disobedience but by our of works obedience..
we are perversely resistant to letting christ love us.. but as john flavel says ‘why should you be such an enemy to your own peace.. ‘
21 – he loved us then; he’ll love us now
conversion isn’t a fresh start.. conversion, authentic regeneration, is the invicibilizing of our future..
reject the devil’s whisper that god’s tender heart fo you has grown a little colder/stiffer.. hi is not flustered by your sinfulness.. his deepest disappointment is w your tepid thoughts of his heart..
nothing can un child you.. not even you
22 – to the end
to those who are not his own.. jesus is a fearful judge.. one whose wrath cannot be assuaged or dampened.. inflicting vengeance on those who do not know god and those who do not obey the gospel.. those who do no belong to christ will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction.. but for his own.. jesus himself endured that punishment.. he set his heart on his own.. they are his.. your future is secure if you are his.. you cannot be made un his.. *he himself made you his own.. and you can’t squirm out of his grasp .. he will love you to the end because he cannot bear to do otherwise..
this seems to wrong.. so un like the rest of the book.. so undoes the rest of the book.. dang.. so unlike love.. so unlike loving gentle and lowly.. and *this esp makes no sense.. if he made you his own: 1\ why didn’t he make everyone his own? 2 peter 3:9 et al.. and 2\ then you’re a robot.. and those who disobey aren’t? doesn’t jive w garden ness.. and giving us choice..
if we’re created by god.. and now in sea world.. so messing up for all sorts of reasons.. i think he’d know that in whatever ways we’re messing up (disobeying) there was/is a reason some sea world ness.. and he’d want to get us out of sea world.. first.. so that then he’d know all hearts belong to him.. created by him.. still choice.. but like hari rat park law.. all would choose the water over the heroin..
i believe god does get all this.. because he knows each heart.. which we don’t.. and so he knows what everyone would choose if legit free.. that’s why i don’t think he’d use scare/fear tactics like we do.. those raised eyebrows over disobedience et al.. it makes no sense to talk about gentle and lowly and then to decide to choose some and not others (if all are made by him).. we don’t trust us.. so we use scare tactics (even in love.. maybe esp in love)..
23 – buried in his heat forevermore
we are pieces of art, designed to be beautiful and thus draw attention to our artist.. we are simply made for nothing else..
if this is legit true.. then it has to be true for all of us.. and if we’re not being that art.. it’s because of the conditions/cages we are living it.. love would want to fix that first.. love would trust that that is the reason for ‘disobeying’.. love wouldn’t even be talking about obedience ness..
one way we glorify god is by our obedience .. our refusing to believe we know best and instead trusting that his way is the way of life
i think that says 2 diff things.. i don’t think art (205) is about obedience.. it’s about fittingness.. and i think fittingness then is how/what we trust.. that he did make us to be us.. and that that’s enough.. that’s all he wants.. (otherwise ie: goal on p 100 would be a lie to our kids.. oi)