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142 of 144 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How the Gospel Frees You from Yourself
Remember. We are told to remember many things. Our parents told us to remember to brush out teeth before bed, remember to clean up our room, remember to finish our lunch at school, etc. God tells Israel to remember the Sabbath and to keep it holy (Ex. 20:8) and to remember the day when they left the land of Egypt (Deut. 5:15). Remember.

Forget. We are told to...
Published on April 11, 2012 by Life Long Reader

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good thought
No doubt this is where every Christian's thinking should be. I found the book easy to read and understand, even if a little belabored at times. It was kinda like reading the first draft of a sermon. Read this anyway, despite my mediocre comments about the structure or quality of the writing. Imagine a world where everyone's ego was firmly in check. Wow, what a thought!
Published 4 months ago by Michael Shishido


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142 of 144 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How the Gospel Frees You from Yourself, April 11, 2012
This review is from: The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness: The Path to True Christian Joy (Paperback)
Remember. We are told to remember many things. Our parents told us to remember to brush out teeth before bed, remember to clean up our room, remember to finish our lunch at school, etc. God tells Israel to remember the Sabbath and to keep it holy (Ex. 20:8) and to remember the day when they left the land of Egypt (Deut. 5:15). Remember.

Forget. We are told to forget many things as well. If we receive new training on the job we may be told to forget everything we thought we knew about how we did our job previously. While encouraging us in our Christian life Paul tells us, "Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead" (Phil. 3:14). He also encourages us to forget about ourselves. Really?

This is exactly what Tim Keller brings out of Paul's words in 1 Cor. 3:21-4:7 in his new book the Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness. The primary verses in this section are as follows:

"But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me." (1 Cor. 4:3-5)

In addressing the many divisions that were in the church of Corinth "Paul shows that the root cause of the division is pride and boasting" (p. 8). It is pride and boasting that shows we have a high view of self. But lest we think we can just think lowly of ourselves and be getting it right Keller reminds us, "A person who keeps saying they are a nobody is actually a self-obsessed person" (p. 32).

If we are not to think too highly of ourselves or to lowly either, then how are we to think of ourselves? We are to be self-forgetful. How does this work? Keller explains:

"A truly gospel-humble person is not a self-hating person or a self-loving person, but a gospel-humble person. The truly gospel-humble person is a self-forgetful person whose ego is just like his or her toes. It just works. It does not draw attention to itself. The toes just work; the ego just works. Neither draws attention to itself." (p. 33)

So Paul will not be judged by others, but neither will he judge himself. It is only the Lord that judges. And here is where the freedom of self-forgetfulness comes in. "But Paul is saying that in Christianity, the verdict leads to performance. It is not the performance that leads to the verdict" (p. 39). The deal is that before we can even perform any of the good works we were created for (Eph. 2:10), we have been declared righteous in Christ at the moment of our salvation. It is then out of this declaration of being found righteous in Christ that we can and do perform these good and righteous works. This is the freedom of self-forgetfulness!

The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness was truly a joy to read as well as a reality check as it exposed the depths of pride in my heart. I read the whole thing in one sitting which is best but I encourage readers to read it all the way through several days in a row. The further you read the more the point becomes clear. Just when I thought I had an idea of what gospel-humility was I read this book and realized I still had no idea. This is a must read for any Christian living in the self-absorbed culture of our day that has crept its way into the pews of our churches and the seats of our homes.

NOTE: I received this book for free from 10ofthose.com in return for a review and I was under no obligation to provide a favorable one.
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60 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book changed my life, April 28, 2012
This review is from: The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness: The Path to True Christian Joy (Paperback)
When I heard the content of this book when it was first delivered at Redeemer it totally changed my life. Even though, at the time I was a Christian, the freedom I came to understand by not associating myself with past sin/guilt have been totally transforming.

This little book should be read by every Christian - and probably monthly!

I encourage you to get it, read it, and encourage others to read it too.
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47 of 50 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Brief Example of a Good Sermon, April 19, 2012
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A. Wencl (Indianapolis, IN USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness: The Path to True Christian Joy (Paperback)
I've been seeing more short booklets recently based on sermons or lectures by some great expositors of Scripture. Tim Keller, author of King's Cross and The Meaning of Marriage, is one of those expositors and this book comes from a message on 1 Corinthians 3:21-4:7.

Keller's book looks at this passage in 1 Corinthians and shows how Paul addressed pride and humility in the context of our identity in Christ. Pride is fueled by comparing myself with others. Low self-esteem is fueled by comparing myself with others, which means it is the byproduct of pride unfulfilled. These issues are both caused by the same problem: we're always trying to satisfy our ego, to prove ourselves.

The solution to pride and our inflated egos is humility as displayed in our own self-forgetfulness. Keller then takes his readers through the truth of the gospel, that in Christ we have no need for comparisons. The verdict of God comes before any performance on our part. Justification, then, is the solution to our ego problem.

Little books like this are helpful because they are quick reminders of truth and examples of how to approach a Bible passage.

I received a digital version of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Introduction to a Larger Discussion--But Only an Introduction, May 3, 2012
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"What are the marks of a heart that has been radically changed by the grace of God?" asks Tim Keller in the opening of The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness. "If we trust in Christ, what should our hearts be like?" These are incredibly important questions, and ones that we would do well to answer.

It is not simply a matter of morally virtuous behaviour. It is quite possible to do all sorts of morally virtuous things when our hearts are filled with fear, with pride or with a desire for power. We are talking about hearts that have been changed, at the root, by the grace of God - and what that looks like in real life.

By examining 1 Corinthians 3:21-4:7, The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness offers readers an explanation of what a changed heart should look like, one that is not characterized by pride and boasting in one's own accomplishments, but in (as Keller titled the sermon from which this book is derived), "blessed self-forgetfulness." In its three short, chapters, Keller looks at the condition of the human ego apart from Christ, its counterpart in the transformed sense of self, and how we can get that transformed sense of self.

Right off the bat, I have to say that I'm of two minds regarding this book. I really appreciate the content. It's solid, biblical and helpful. Particularly poignant is his explanation of Paul's view of his own self--the remedy to the problem of self-esteem:

"Paul is saying something astounding. `I don't care what you think and I don't care what I think.' He is bringing us into new territory that we know nothing about. His ego is not puffed up, it is filled up. He is talking about humility - although I hate using the word `humility' because this is nothing like our idea of humility. Paul is saying that he has reached a place where his ego draws no more attention to itself than any other part of his body. He has reached the place where he is not thinking about himself anymore. When he does something wrong or something good, he does not connect it to himself any more." (p. 31)

This is a beautiful way of answering the problem of how we view ourselves, scripturally. We too often look at our view of self and think that if we've got low self-esteem, we need to boost it (ala Maslow's hierarchy of needs). But Paul's answer is simple--we don't need to change our view of self, we need to take our eyes off of ourselves entirely. This is such a crucial distinction because it reminds us again, that our eyes are to be on Christ as the author and perfecter of our faith, not upon ourselves, for even the good that we do is of Him.

Where I struggle with the book, oddly, is that it exists as a book. Is the right way to present Keller's message as a print book, given that it is the transcript of a 40 minute message (which means it's 4500-5000 words on the high end)? While I'm not against sermon transcripts being compiled into books (all of Lloyd-Jones' books are sermons and lectures, for example), I'm not certain that the best presentation of this one is as a stand-alone piece. Maybe it's most appropriate as a low-cost eBook (think Kindle single), but being presented as a book on its own may actually do the content a disservice simply because readers may want more than is presented.

The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness really serves as a sketch for a larger discussion--it's an introduction. A good one, to be sure, but an introduction nonetheless. If you as a reader are looking for a super-fast read (think 30-ish minutes), it's definitely worth the read, but be sure to manage your expectations.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Freedom!, May 8, 2012
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This review is from: The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness: The Path to True Christian Joy (Paperback)
This little book is a quick read but the content will seep slowly into your heart and set you free. I have read it, passed it along and am back to buy more. I am a better wife, friend, and serve God better because of the freedom I have found in Him, and in reading this book. There is a lot of truth packed into this short book. I am a fan of Tim Keller and have read King's Cross (awesome) and listen to his podcasts. You won't be disappointed!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Solid Resource From Keller, October 1, 2012
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This review is from: The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness: The Path to True Christian Joy (Paperback)
I downloaded this book onto my school-purchased iPhone for several reasons:

1. Tim Keller - I enjoyed reading The Prodigal God, watching The Gospel of Life, and listening to numerous sermon clips and interviews of his.
2. The Subtitle - Sometimes I struggle finding joy in tasks that God has required me to do, but I want to rejoice always.
3. Cost - The book was under a buck through Amazon so I couldn't pass it up.

The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness consists of four short chapters, and I was able to finish the book on a bus ride home from work. Chapter one is called The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness, chapter two is entitled The Natural Condition Of The Human Ego, chapter three is The Transformed View Of Self, and the final chapter is How To Get That Transformed View Of Self.

Chapter one opens up with two immensely important questions:

1. "What are the marks of a heart that has been radically changed by the grace of God?"
2. "If we trust in Christ, what should our hearts be like?"

In The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness, Pastor Keller focuses on a section of Paul's first letter to the Corinthians: 1 Cor. 3:21-4:7. In this passage we are shown that the church in Corinth is divided due to pride and boasting. Like the Corinthians, we often look at ourselves too highly. This is something I have done all too frequently and something I continue to battle. Additionally, many people are on the other side of the spectrum and feel they suffer from a low self-esteem. We help people to combat this by telling them they are somebody; however, this is totally the wrong approach. We cannot build ourselves up by meeting our own standards or society's standards. This doesn't work. Apart from Christ, we will never be satisfied with ourselves. Our ego always desires more, and we get hurt in the process. We constantly desire to accomplish more in order to feel like we're somebody important. God expects us to deny ourselves and look to Him. God is to be our audience, not the world. We must seek to bring attention to our Awesome God and not to ourselves. The only way we can do this is by looking to the finished work of Christ on the cross. It is He who declares us innocent so we can live this life full of joy and be prepared for a life of pure joy in Heaven.

If you are looking for a quick read that is biblically sound, I recommend Keller's book to you. Pastor Keller preaches to a few thousand intellectuals in Manhattan every Sunday yet his book can be understood by those new to the faith. The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness does not use complex theological terms, and deep thoughts and discussions should result from reading the book. Although I still struggle to find joy in some daily tasks, reading Keller's book is a great reminder of how I should be thinking. At the back of the book you will find a few thoughts and questions for reflection, end notes, and a list of Keller's books.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forget Yourself and Find Freedom!, October 17, 2013
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This little book is a little gem. It takes only a couple of hours to read, and I will probably read and reread it many times. There was always a vague suspicion at the back of my mind that I think too much about myself, but Keller digs deep and makes the reader have that strange and surprising feeling of "whoa, this guy knows me better than I do!". There is no sugarcoating it. Each of us thinks way too much about ourselves and passes judgements on ourselves and others. It's almost an addiction; we absolutely have to judge and cannot simply appreciate; but we pay a price. Self-judgement is not joy. It is not even the way to joy. Quite the opposite, actually.

The bottom line is that there aren't many good options when it comes to passing judgement: We can praise ourselves (our self-praise is useless and we all know it), we can condemn ourselves (and inflict self-harm in the process), we can validate ourselves through the judgement of others (no matter what praise we get from others, it will never fill us. We will always be empty and want more) or we can go a different way and (to borrow a CS Lewis quote) leave the vedict to "the only Mind that can give a perfect judgment".
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good thought, April 1, 2014
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No doubt this is where every Christian's thinking should be. I found the book easy to read and understand, even if a little belabored at times. It was kinda like reading the first draft of a sermon. Read this anyway, despite my mediocre comments about the structure or quality of the writing. Imagine a world where everyone's ego was firmly in check. Wow, what a thought!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE FREEDOM OF SELF-FORGETFULNESS by Timothy Keller, January 22, 2013
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This review is from: The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness: The Path to True Christian Joy (Paperback)
The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness is a 2012 book on Christianity by Timothy Keller. Here, Keller uses 1 Corinthians 3:21-4:7 as the basis to explain what it means to be a "gospel-humble" person.

In the above passage, Saint Paul tells the Corinthians that he does not care how they judge him, for he does not even care to judge himself; he only allows God to judge him. This level of "self-forgetfulness," as Keller puts it, frees a person from both pride and insecurity. Neither sins nor accomplishments are connected to identity; identity and self-worth are instead based entirely on the righteousness imputed to the believer by Christ.

Keller's message is, quite frankly, a hard teaching, and one that seems to be of particular difficulty to the modern West, which tends to be so comparison-based and self-focused. Indeed, the biblical position on self-esteem presented here seems to be alien to many believers.

This is an extremely short work (less than 50 pages); it's not much more than an expanded sermon. As such, there's plenty of room for expansion in a number of areas, including and especially as to how the reader goes about becoming "gospel-humble."

The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness is, in short, an excellent introduction to an important aspect of the Christian life; however, it is little more than an introduction.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing read, May 29, 2012
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This LITTLE book (can be read in 30-45 mins) is well worth the time and money. It is exactly what you need if you constantly feel the pressure of living in a courtroom, waiting for the final verdict. Freedom is available!
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The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness: The Path to True Christian Joy
The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness: The Path to True Christian Joy by Timothy Keller (Paperback - March 28, 2012)
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