The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness: The Path to True Christian Joy Paperback – March 28, 2012
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An excellent little piece. This is a truly liberating book for anyone who's ever worried about what other think of them or been caught up in conflict. You'll find your life explained and then put on the path to freedom. --Tim Chester, Author and Director of The Porterbrook Institute
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Keller teaches from 1 Corinthians 3, that the truest freedom is achieved only when we learn how to forget ourselves. Paul's identity is not in anything he does or in any attribute he possesses. His performance has no merit on his self worth. Why? Because for Paul and the Christian a like, the verdict is in and the trial is over. Because through Jesus Christ's sacrifice we are already accepted, we are already loved more than we could imagine by the creator of the universe. Wow. So let's learn from Paul to forget ourselves. The war is won. The fight is done. It's not about you and it's not about me. Our lives are hidden in Christ--so may our identity be rooted in Him and nothing less.
All in all, "The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness" is excellent. My only concern is the price is too high for the size as this can be read in 30 minutes. Still, a worthwhile read and fantastic sermon.
He makes a good point that virtually every other religion says performance leads to the declaration of your salvation or your 'justification' but Christianity says- no, performance doesn't lead to a favorable verdict in the courtroom of goodness; in fact, we aren't even in the courtroom. We have already been declared justified the moment we believe Jesus went to the courtroom for us and took our punishment, paying off the debt of our sins. The 'performance' or rather, the freedom to obey and the grace when we don't comes AFTER the verdict. We don't need to live every day on trial, wondering if what we're doing is good enough.
He also reflects on the way society tries to blame our self-esteem: our bad behavior is a cause of either too high self-esteem or too low. But what if it's not our self-esteem at all. True humility is not thinking less of ourselves or more of ourselves, but just thinking about ourselves <i> less </i>. Our identity is not formed from how we think about ourselves but how we think about God and what He says about us.
As someone who struggles with pride, this is a great, quick read to help me refocus on the right things and to recognize when my thinking becomes self-absorbed.
'Self-love' is the pulse of the world, but Jesus wants us to be self-forgetful.
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The first chapter lays out our issue: We think too much about our own self-esteem - too much and we're selfish or proud, too little and we're miserable.
The second chapter lays out a Christian response.
The third chapter actually tells you how to have that freedom. Essentially it boils down to CS Lewis' suggestion that self-forgetfulness is not thinking less of ourselves (self-deprecation) but thinking of ourselves less. Instead, we should be thinking more of Christ. Its not about our self-esteem, but how much do we esteem Him.
Some issues though:
The whole work reads as a good published sermon. This isn't a bad thing, but he often refers to verses, yet the passage he's preaching from (contained at the front) doesn't have verse numbers. Without a Bible handy, its sometimes hard to follow.
Secondly, its almost like he spends too much time building up to the solution of "How might I achieve such self-forgetfulness?". Its a good book, but I wish he'd have gotten to this part sooner and expanded it, rather than spend so much time on the first 2 chapters. I was reading them thinking "Yep, gotya, I agree... now what?".
Nonetheless, I would definitely reccomend this 'book' to those who are struggling with pride or low self esteem, as well as those who want to know more about what it's like to truly be humble in the Biblical way. Timothy Keller provides great insight into how the Bible deals with such issues.
The only reason why I won't give this a 5 star rating is because I feel like the book could have been much longer so that Timothy Keller could have elaborated on his main points in more detail. I watch a lot of Keller's sermons, and I feel like the content of this book mirrored one of the sermons I watched, and funnily enough, Keller went into much more detail about the topics in the sermon compared to this book!
Yet despite that, I would still reccomend this book. Timothy Keller is one of my favourite pastors/authors, he has so much wisdom and his take on certain passages of scripture is so refreshing. He also provides ways to for practical application which is so crucial for the Christian walk.
So to sum up, this book is really short and not much detailed (which is a great shame). But I still reccomend it because it provides great insight to the topic which can be of great help to those struggling with pride and low self esteem.
It's short and sweet enough to get straight to the point whilst being extremely helpful in understanding what Paul is trying to tell us. It is definitely life changing and I hope that I am able to put it into action in my own life.
Read this book if you want your life to be changed as well. It is definitely worth it and don't worry, he gives you the steps too.
Why do we do it? Did God really say? Is it to do with our own identity?
Timothy Keller in ‘The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness’, sets out his theme and stays focused, without 'padding' it out with side issues.
Forget the latest spiritual program or fad. This book gets to the real issue that we can easily treat as a spiritual gift, whereas, it is sucking the life out of so many Christians.
I appreciate Timothy Keller's style in that the book is not littered with 'out of context' 'proof texts'.
4 stars as, simply, I would have liked more including some more practical examples of how to achieve self-forgetfulness and what it looks like in practice. Still a great read though.