For those who have grown up in the church, like myself, so much of growing in spiritual maturity is unlearning false doctrine and theory from childhood. Gentle & Lowly helped me further distance myself from the idea that God is removed from His people or that He is our Savior at the end but not in the middle of my mess. As I have said in recommending it to a dozen people already, this book is so spiritually nourishing. As the book’s title suggests, Dane Ortlund builds his case on Matthew 11:29 where Jesus says He is gentle and lowly in heart. Using that statement, Ortlund looks at how we see heart of Christ demonstrated through His relationship with His creation and within the Godhead.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls (Matt. 11:29)

Truly, it was the chapter on the Father’s heart that most struck me. So often, I see God’s Grace as free-flowing in my suffering, but never in my battle against sin. As Ortlun suggests, “Some of us separate out our sins from our sufferings. We are culpable for our sins, after all, whereas our suffering (much of it anyway) is simply what befalls us in this world ruined by the fall. So we tend to have greater difficulty expecting God’s gentle compassion toward our sins in the same way as toward our sufferings. Surely his heart flows more freely when I am sinned against than when I myself sin?”

As Ortlund goes on to say,

“Our sins darken our feelings of his gracious heart, but his heart cannot be diminished for his own people due to their sins any more than the sun’s existence can be threatened due to the passing of a few wispy clouds or even an extended thunderstorm. The sun is shining. It cannot stop. Clouds, no clouds—sin, no sin—the tender heart of the Son of God is shining on me. This is an unflappable affection.”

I can not recommend this book enough. If you’re a seasoned believer, read it. If you’re a new believer, read it. If you’re an unbeliever, read it. Your mind will be challenged in the theological depth of Gentle & Lowly, but your heart will be equally encouraged in faith. While there are a few tenets I don’t agree with Ortlund on (items of conviction or preference rather than theological absolutes), his explanation and Scriptural analysis am have been incredibly helpful in my faith. My faith has certainly been strengthened as a result of reading this book.

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