excerpted from Gentle and Lowly by Dane Ortlund
“There are two ways to live the Christian life. You can live it either for the heart of Christ or from the heart of Christ. You can live for the smile of God or from it. For a new identity as a son or daughter of God or from it. For your union with Christ or from it.
The battle of the Christian life is to bring your own heart into alignment with Christ’s, that is, getting up each morning and replacing your natural orphan mind-set with a mind-set of full and free adoption into the family of God through the work of Christ your older brother, who loved you and gave himself for you out of the overflowing fullness of his gracious heart.”
I was 27 years old when I studied the book of Galatians. At that time in my life I was caught up in the idea that God would only be pleased with me by my efforts to please Him. When I studied that book I was overwhelmed to understand that my acceptance had nothing to do with me and my actions, but everything to do with Jesus and His actions. It was so liberating.
Then I lost that understanding because I was immersed in a culture of works – both in the religious sphere and the secular system that I was a part of. As Galatians puts it, “Having begun in the Spirit I went back to believe I was being perfected by the flesh” (Gal. 3:3 adapted). Even worse, Galatians says that when I relied on my works to save me I was under a curse (Gal. 3:10).
It was exactly 20 years later that these words of justification by grace in Galatians became alive again in me. My sin couldn’t separate me from Jesus. Just as Jesus healed disease in people, so He healed my diseased soul. No amount of law-keeping could save me, only Jesus.
As that understanding grows of being accepted by Jesus because of who He is, not who we are, we grow closer to the heart of Jesus. This is the way to shed complexes, anxieties, worries, fears, childhood difficulties, competitiveness and nervousness and yield your heart to the One who loved you and died for you.
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20 NIV).
Open your heart to Jesus and let your law-ish hearts relax as his lavish heart enters your heart and resides in you. Nothing can touch you because you will belong to Jesus and He will never cast you out (John 6:37).