The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness - Timothy Keller
What if I said that you could find the lasting joy and approval we all look for in the next hour?
Well, in his tiny (and really cheap) book ‘The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness’, Timothy Keller shows us how to find just that.
Our continual trial
For most people life feels like a court trial. Each day, we look for a verdict that we’re important and valuable from the people around us.
Some days we feel like we're winning; other days like we're losing. But no matter how well the day goes, we're back in the courtroom the next morning.
In an honest moment, Madonna described her trial like this:
My drive in life is from this horrible fear of being mediocre. And that’s always pushing me, pushing me. Because even though I’ve become Somebody. I still have to prove that Somebody. My struggle has never ended and it probably never will.
Madonna has more fame, fans and fortune than we ever will. But each morning she finds herself back in the court room.
Our unconditional verdict
That's how our identity works, says Keller. But then he shares the secret:
'Do you realize that it is only in the gospel of Jesus Christ that you get the verdict before the performance?'
Atheists may say they get their self-image from being a good person. People of other religions may say something similar.
But by trusting in Jesus you get the verdict before the performance. In him, God put himself on trial and received our guilty verdict so we’d receive Jesus’ - ‘innocent,’ ‘loved,’ ‘approved.’
And so the moment we believe, God says ‘You are my beloved child in whom I am well pleased' (Mark 1:11).
Only that gives us the freedom to forget ourselves and live life with lasting joy and approval.