What Does God Think About You?

What does God think about you? How we answer that question tends to reveal what we think about him. Most people tend to imagine God as barely able to endure his children. As if he looks down from on high with his arms crossed, thinking, “Once they stop being so prone to wander, I will fully embrace them with my love, but until then, I will keep them at arms distance.”

We are all legalists by nature, and, even as believers, that old man still tries to rear his ugly head. When we have trouble answering the question above without imagining God as annoyed, it would probably be best to alter the question just a bit and ask, “what is the heart of God toward sinners?” This is the question posed in the book, Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for sinners and sufferers by Dane Ortlund. It is a gospel-saturated book that every Christian should spend time absorbing.

As you go through this book, you will find that Jesus is rich in mercy, that he is a tender friend, and that his very heart is gentle and lowly (Matthew 11:29). Think about that for a moment; he is gentle. He is “not harsh, reactionary, easily exasperated. He is the most understanding person in the universe. The posture most natural to him is not a pointed finger but open arms” (Ortlund). He is also lowly. His lowliness constitutes humility, which, for the believer, entails accessibility. Yes, he is resplendent, glorious, and holy, but he is also humble at heart. His work on the cross was the outworking of his heart toward sinners, and the cross makes it possible for us to approach him.

Jesus is gentle and lowly, a friend to sinners. Our sin and weakness do not alienate him from us; it moves his heart toward us. Let me leave you with the following which is taken directly from the book. In this section, Ortlund is unpacking John 6:37, which says, “The one who comes to me [Jesus], I will in no wise cast out.” With this verse, Ortlund starts by giving us John Bunyan’s treatment of this passage, where he pictures a sinner laying out objections to Christ’s love for him.

But I am a great sinner, sayest thou.
“I will never cast out,” says Christ.

But I am an old sinner, sayest thou.
“I will never cast out,” says Christ.

But I am a hard-hearted sinner, sayest thou.
“I will never cast out,” says Christ.

But I am a backsliding sinner, sayest thou.
“I will never cast out,” says Christ.

But I have served Satan all my days, sayest thou.
“I will never cast out,” says Christ.

But I have sinned against light, sayest thou.
“I will never cast out,” says Christ.

But I have sinned against mercy, sayest thou.
“I will never cast out,” says Christ.

But I have no good thing to bring with me, sayest thou.
“I will never cast out,” says Christ.

Ortlund then concludes the section with this encouragement:

We are factories of fresh resistance to Christ’s love. Even when we run out of tangible reasons to be cast out, such as specific sins or failures, 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. He knows we tend to deflect Christ’s assurances.

No wait, we say cautiously approaching Jesus, you don’t understand. I’ve really messed up in all kinds of ways.
“I know,” he responds.

You know most of it, sure. Certainly, more than what others see, but there’s perversity down inside me that’s hidden from everyone.
“I know it all well.”

The thing is, it isn’t just my past, it’s my present too.
“I understand.”

But I don’t know if I can break free of this anytime soon.
“That’s the only kind of person I’m here to help.”

The burden is heavy and heavier all the time.
“Then let me carry it.”

It’s too much to bear.
“Not for me.”

You don’t get it. My offenses aren’t directed toward others, they are against you.
“And I am the one most suited to forgive them.”

But the more of the ugliness in me you discover, the sooner you’ll get fed up with me.
“Whoever comes to me, I will never cast out.”

With mouth stopping defiance, Bunyan concludes his list of objections we raised to coming to Jesus. “This promise was provided to answer all objections and does answer them.” Case closed.

We can never get enough of the Gospel and his heart toward you is gentle and lowly. Even as believers, our sinful nature strives against this truth, and it is for this reason I recommend this book to you. Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for sinners and sufferers by Dane Ortlund.

-D. Eaton

P.S. I would like to thank my pastor, Jeff Saltzmann for bringing this book to my attention in a sermon he preached called, The Anger in the Aftermath from the book of Job, and then gifting a copy to me.

One thought on “What Does God Think About You?

  1. Thanks for this message. Much needed. I bought the book.

    Corey Walls

    On Tue, Oct 27, 2020, 6:09 PM The Fight of Faith wrote:

    > Doug Eaton posted: ” What does God think about you? How we answer that > question tends to reveal what we think about him. Most people tend to > imagine God as barely able to endure his children. As if he looks down from > on high with his arms crossed, thinking, “Once the” >

    Liked by 1 person

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