Book Review: “The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness” by Tim Keller
Tim Keller has a short new book called “The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness.” It is a fabulous book! You can get it on Kindle for $0.99 (50 pages).
Here is a quick summary:
In the book, Keller looks at the ego historically and says that traditionally we said that bad behavior comes from hubris, or too high a view of ourselves, but recently we’ve concluded that bad behavior comes from low self-esteem.
He looks at 1 Cor. 3:21-4-7, and concludes that the Bible does not attribute bad behavior to either high or low self-esteem. The natural state of the ego is to be “puffed up” (4:6) and that means, like an organ (of the body) that’s over-sized, or inflamed, the ego is empty, painful, busy & fragile… very insightful!
Good analysis of the cultural trends, as you’d expect from Keller. But he includes here a very helpful interview with Madonna to show why self-esteem is an insatiable black hole that can never be satisfied.
He goes on to talk about what Paul says, “I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court, in fact I don’t even judge myself” (4:3). Our solution to the judgment of others is usually to say, “Well, I don’t care what you think of me because I have my own opinion about myself.” But Paul says, “I don’t care what you think of me and I don’t care what I think of me.”
If we do care, then we find ourselves in court or on trial every day. The secret is That Paul only cares what Christ thinks, “It is the Lord who judges me” (4:4). And this is the brilliant part, in every religion your performance leads to a verdict, but in Christianity, the verdict leads to your performance.
Christ already went to trial, and he was declared guilty. Why did He do that? He did it in your place, as your substitute. Through faith, Jesus’ perfect performance is imputed to you. The moment you come to faith in Christ, God’s verdict on your life is “Well done, good and faithful servant.” The court is closed. Your performance in the Christian life is meant to flow from God’s verdict, not lead to it.
Hope this is as helpful to you as it was to me!
Pastor Tim Augustyn of Unlocking the Bible
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Date Posted: June 25th, 2012