- Paperback: 48 pages
- Publisher: 10Publishing; 1st Edition edition (March 28, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1906173419
- ISBN-13: 978-1906173418
- Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.3 x 0.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 1,114 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,461 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness: The Path to True Christian Joy Paperback – March 28, 2012
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Tim Keller knows that personal freedom is only ever found in viewing yourself from the vantage point of the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Read and experience that freedom yourself. --Paul David Tripp
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
About the Author
Timothy Keller is the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, which he started in 1989 with his wife, Kathy, and three young sons. He is the author of several books.
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Author Timothy Keller dismantles everything we believe about our ego. Essentially, he suggests that if we are asking ourselves whether we have low self-esteem or high self-esteem, we are asking the wrong question.
The trap of self-worth is that every day we face the judgement of determining whether we are valued. It’s a never ending struggle. Keller suggests we look, instead, to the Righteous Judge who settled the matter of our worth once and for all. When we accept His judgment of ourselves we can stop asking the question about self-worth because no one’s opinion of my worth, even my own, doesn’t matter any longer.
We can stop connecting every experience with ourselves and live in the freedom that comes from this place of gospel-humility or self-forgetfulness. As Keller writes: “[Paul] 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.”
I encourage you to read The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness because this small eBook contains some big ideas.
This review, with additional book quotes, first appeared on my blog, ChristyBower.com.
The human ego is an expert attention-seeker. How it usually operates is also profoundly unbiblical. It's unfortunate how western society now insists that low self-esteem is the contributor to most of an individual's woes. It's like a daily courtroom battle where you, the defendant, are constantly fighting for the verdict of "You're the greatest!" This is the problem that author Tim Keller addresses in his very short book, The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness, comprised of 44 small pages. This review will be short and sweet as well.
Keller references I Corinthians 3:21-4:7 as the source material for his message, as the text contains perfectly chosen words to describe how Christians ought to regard our own opinion, and others' opinions and attitudes about us in light of the identity we sinfully seek to have in the world.
The book highlights four interesting truths about the human ego to explain why it's so important to forget ourselves and only look to Christ for our ultimate identity. The first is that the ego is empty, because the natural human heart always seeks an identity apart from God. The ego is also painful; it constantly demands an analysis of how you look, feel, and are. The third concept is that the ego is busy, or as I partially alluded to earlier, constantly drawing attention to itself. That because it craves to be filled, you're tempted to compare yourself and boast about yourself. And finally, that the ego is fragile. Since the ego is always over-inflated, it is always in danger of becoming deflated as a result of the person failing to measure up to his/her own, or others' standards.
The solution, Tim suggests, is that we imitate Paul based on those I Corinthians verses. Before expounding on the solution, I want to point out that I think Keller would have done well to clarify that opinions can be valuable to consider, such as your spouse's, or church leaders'. You really can't just completely ignore people; there's a lot of wisdom and growth to be gained from taking heed of others' Bible-based opinions. I understand why that wasn't approached in the book since it targets self-identity and not how others' opinions can help you grow in the Lord; I just hope it doesn't encourage some readers to utterly blow off those in their inner circles.
Getting back on track, in the I Corinthians passage the apostle Paul teaches that he learned to not care about others' opinions, or his own! Paul learned instead to revere only that of the Lord Jesus Christ's. Even that of the courts did not concern Paul, since because of Christ the verdict is already in. A great way of describing the gospel is that the performance doesn't lead to the verdict, but the verdict to the performance. And indeed therein lies the freedom of self-forgetfulness; not allowing yourself to become like celebrity Madonna (whom the book references) who believes she exists in a constant state of mediocrity and must always strive for that next great "Wow!" accomplishment so everyone will tell her she's great and wonderful for a little while. But that is not the way of Christ. The Christian's identity is vertical, not the least bit dependent on anyone of flesh and bone.
That's the message of The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness, a message straight from the gospel of Jesus Christ that we must remind ourselves of daily. Is your tendency to be devastated by criticism? Do the opinions of others keep you up at night? Do you fear honor? Do you need honor? Can you celebrate coming in second place, and cheer on the winner? Those questions derived from the ego, and more, are handled well in The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness.