Book Review | Deeper

Your growth in Christ will go no further than your settledness, way down deep in your heart, that God loves you.” p. 75, Deeper by Dane Ortlund.

Last year over Thanksgiving, I read Gentle and Lowly by Dane Ortlund and blogged about it HERE. The Lord used that text in some remarkable ways to be a salve to my weary soul. When I heard that Ortlund had written Deeper, I knew that would have to be my Thanksgiving read for this year and I’m so grateful it was! Each morning I woke early before everyone else to sit in front of the fireplace and drink coffee while the sun came up over the lake as I dove into the riches of Deeper. I can’t overstate how much I appreciate Ortlund’s intentionality with driving the reader to Scripture as well as helping them truly meditate in the truth of who Christ is. Just as Gentle and Lowly was my book of 2020, Deeper is leading the charge for book of the year in 2021!

I highlighted several things while reading and have posted those notes below…

  • The living God is so glorious and kind, he cannot be known without being adored. p. 13
  • The basic point of this book is that change is a matter of going deeper. p. 16
  • Let me suggest that you consider the possibility that your current mental idea of Jesus is the tip of the iceberg. p. 22
  • Seven facets of Christ: ruling, saving, befriending, persevering, interceding, returning, and tenderness p. 23
  • The point of this exercise is to bring the living Christ himself into sharper, starker contrast, to see him loom larger and more radiant and more glorious than ever before — to trade in our snorkel and face mask for scuba gear that takes us down into depths we’ve never peered into before–and to seek Christian growth out of an accurate and ever-deepening vision of the Christ to whom we have been united. p. 23
    • Jesus exercises supreme authority over the entire universe. p. 23
    • The Bible says that when Jesus comes to judge the world, he “will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart.” (1 Corinthians 4:5) p. 24
    • As sinners we are not wounded but dead in our trespasses and we need not merely strengthening or helping but resurrection, a full-scale deliverance (Ephesians 2:1-6). p. 25
    • A heart sense of the friendship of Jesus with his own is a facet of his all-sufficiency without which vital growth cannot happen. p. 27
    • Our felt shame is what draws Jesus in. He is the mighty friend of sinners. p. 28
    • If he is the friend of sinners, and if you know yourself to be a sinner, then let him befriend you more deeply than you ever have. Open up to him as you do to no other earthly friend. Let him love you as the friend of failures, the invincible ally of the weak. p. 29
    • We can flourish into deeper health only as the truth settles over us that once Jesus has brought us to himself, he will never be looking for an off-ramp. p. 29
    • He is more committed to your growth in him than you are. p. 31
    • Our growth in Christ also draws strength from a vivid heart sense of his imminent return. p. 31
    • He is the most open and accessible, the most peaceful and accommodating person in the universe. He is the gentlest, least abrasive person you will ever experience. Infinite strength, infinite meekness. Dazzlingly resplendent; endlessly claim. p. 32
  • Determine today, before God, through the Bible and good books explaining it, that you will spend the rest of your life wading into the unsearchable riches of the real Christ. p. 35
  • Let him, in all his endless fullness, love you into growth. p. 35
  • “Learn much of your own heart, and when you have learned all you can, remember you have seen but a few yards into a pit that is unfathomable.” – Scottish Pastor Robert Murray McCheyne p. 41
  • One reason some Christians remain shallow their whole lives is they do not allow themselves, ever more deeply throughout their lives, to pass through the painful corridor of honesty about who they really are. p. 42
  • The godliest octogenarians I know are those who feel themselves to be more sinful now than at any time before. p. 44
  • Healthy despair is an intersection, not a highway; a gateway, not a pathway. We must go there. But we dare not stay there. p. 47
  • I am united to Christ, I can never be disunited from him. The logic of the New Testament letters is that in order for me to get disunited from Christ, Christ himself would have to be de-resurrected. He’d have to get kicked out of heaven for me to get kicked out of him. We’re that safe. p. 56
  • Submerge yourself in this truth. Let it wash over you. The divine Son, through whom all things were made (Colossians 1:16), who “upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3), the one without whose constant care and guidance all of molecular reality would fall apart (Colossians 1:17), is the one with whom you have been united. Through no activity of your own, but by the sheer and mighty grace of God, you have been enveloped in the triumphant and tender rule of the cosmos. p. 65
  • Your growth in Christ will go no further than your settledness, way down deep in your heart, that God loves you. p. 75
  • One day we will stand before him, quietly, unhurriedly, overwhelmed with relief and standing under the felt flood of divine affection in a way we never can here in this life. p. 75
  • If you saw yourself as lovely, that would limit how loved you could feel. But love by its very nature is not dependent on the loveliness of the beloved. If you felt yourself to be lovely, you could feel loved to a degree, but you could not be astonished with how loved you are. It’s precisely our messiness that makes Christ’s love so surprising, so startling, so arresting–and thereby so transforming. p. 79
  • Live your life out of the fullness of a justified existence. Honor the first commandment. Do not be an idolater. Let Jesus Christ clothe you, dignify you, justify you. Nothing else can. p. 103
  • We consign ourselves to plateaued growth in Christ if we yield to pride and fear and hide our sins. We grow as we own up to being real sinners, not theoretical sinners. All of us, as Christians, acknowledge generally that we are sinners. Rarer is the Christian who opens up to another about exactly how he or she is a sinner. But in this honesty, life blossoms. p. 115
  • When life hurts, we immediately find ourselves at an internal fork in the road. Either we take the road of cynicism, withdrawing from openheartedness with God and others, retreating into the felt safety of holding back our desires and longings, lest they get hurt again, or we press into greater depth with God than we have ever known. p. 132
  • If you want to be a solid, weighty, radiant old man or woman someday, let the pain in your life force you to believe your own theology. Let it propel you into deeper fellowship with Christ than ever before. p. 133
  • Bible Reading and Prayer-And the best way to think about these two practices is by the metaphor of breathing. Reading the Bible is inhaling. Praying is exhaling. p. 143
  • Introduction to the Bibles printed by the Gideons…The Bible contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable.Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you.It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword and the Christian’s charter. Here too, Heaven is opened and the gates of Hell disclosed.Christ is its grand subject, our good its design, and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently and prayerfully.  It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure.It is given you in life, will be opened at the judgment, and be remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibility, rewards the greatest labor, and will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents. p. 144
  • The Christian life–our growth in Christ–is nothing other than the lifelong deconstruction of what we naturally think and assume and the reconstruction of truth through the Bible. p. 145

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