Monday, August 06, 2012

Book Review: The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness

What does it look like to live as a Christian? In this little book, really an expanded, transcribed sermon, Tim Keller reveals what true freedom - the freedom of self-forgetfulness is. For the half an hour it'll take you to read it, and the little sum of money (99p in the Kindle store) it'll cost to buy it, this book is definitely worth it.

While our society concerns itself with the ego - self-esteem, self-development and such like, believing that we need to help people increase in self-esteem and that the big problem is low self-confidence, Keller argues that we actually have too high a view of ourselves:

'Our belief today - and it is deeply rooted in everything - is that people misbehave for lack of self-esteem and because they have too low a view of themselves.'

'Trying to boost our self-esteem by trying to love up to our own standards or someone else's is a trap.'

Keller's answer is the gospel's answer - by not connecting sins and identity, we see ourselves as God sees us, and find our value in God's opinion rather than our own or anyone else's:

'The essence of gospel-humility is not thinking more of myself or thinking less of myself, it is thinking of myself less.'

'True gospel-humility means an ego that is not puffed up but filled up.'

The problem is widespread:

'What Paul is looking for, what Madonna is looking for, what we are all looking for, is an ultimate verdict that we are important and valuable. We look for that ultimate verdict every day in all the situations and people around us. And that means that every single day, we are on trial.'

The answer?

'He says that it is the Lord who judges him. It is only His opinion that counts... Paul is saying that in Christianity, the verdict leads to the performance. It is not the performance that leads to the verdict.'

'Because he loves me and he accepts me, I do not have to do things just to build up my resume. I do not have to do things to make me look good. I can do things for the joy of doing them.'

This little book is perhaps the best short introduction to the whole connection between justification and sanctification I've ever read. It's completely life transforming, and will do your heart good. Buy it now from the Kindle store.

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