Resource Highlight – The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness

13579364I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. – 1 Corinthians 4:3-4 

Do you struggle with an inflated self-esteem? What about a low opinion of yourself? Either way the focus is inward, away from the God who deserves all that attention.

The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness is a tiny book I found useful, as it deals with the interesting subject of the self esteem. By walking through one section of Paul’s first letter to the people of Corinth, it shows the common faults in our view of self, pointing to the marks of a heart radically transformed by Christ.

How can we serve God and others if we are busy looking to gain another person’s approval? Human pride eats away at us, kills our unity with others, and ultimately aims to put us on the throne of God. The book does a good job describing the fragile nature of the human ego, and how Christ transforms our faulty view of self:

“True Christian identity operates totally differently than any other kind of identity. Self-forgetfulness takes you out of the courtroom. The trial is over. The verdict is in.”

Throughout, Tim Keller shows ways we are all guilty of having a proud heart. Whether we are prone to boast, or prone to cut ourselves down, the focus still rests on the self. So what would a truly gospel-humble person look like? One mark will be they are often “self-forgetful”. As C.S. Lewis says in Mere Christianity, “True humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.”

A humble person won’t view themselves in a way that is too high or too low. They won’t shy away from criticism. When a heart focused fully on Jesus is on display, there is no room for receiving a worldly stamp of approval, as there is no reason to “boast in men”.

In an age that tells us at every turn we are of utmost importance, Jesus’ teaching of the last will be first, and the first last is always revolutionary. If we set our gaze on the One who is truly humble, whose opinion is the only one that counts, only then will we begin to forget ourselves.

For other resources to help in your daily walk, check out our Recommended Books.

Kevin Wilder

Posted on: February 19, 2014 - 9:00AM

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