Daily Keller

~ Wisdom from Tim Keller 365 Days a Year

Daily Keller

A Great Marriage

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Tim Keller

If two spouses each say, ‘I’m going to treat my self-centeredness as the main problem in the marriage,’ you have the prospect of a truly great marriage.

– Tim Keller

Mad at God

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Tim Keller

If you’ve got an infinite God big enough to be mad at for the suffering in the world, then you also have an infinite God big enough to have reasons for it that you can’t think of.

– Tim Keller

The Future Kingdom

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Tim Keller

Psalm 96:12-13 says, ‘All the trees of the forest will sing for joy; they will sing before the Lord, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth.’ Isaiah 55:12 says, ‘The mountains and the hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.’

If you put seeds into a pot of soil and then put it away in the dark, away from the sun, the seeds go into dormancy. They can’t grow to their potential. But if you bring the pot with seeds into the presence of the sun, all that has been locked within them bursts forth. The Bible says that everything in this world — not just we human beings but even the plants, the trees, the rocks — is dormant. These things are just shadows of what they have been, would be, and will be in the presence of their Creator. When the Lamb of God presides over the final feast and the presence of God covers the earth again, the trees and the hills will clap and dance, so alive will they be. And if trees and hills will be able to clap and dance in the future kingdom, picture what you and I will be able to do.

– Tim Keller

Only You

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Tim Keller

There are some needs only you can see. There are some hands only you can hold. There are some people only you can reach.

– Tim Keller

Enslaving Habits

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Tim Keller

If you are a Christian and you are dealing with enslaving habits, it’s not enough to say, ‘Bad Christian, stop it.’ And it is not enough to beat yourself up or merely try harder and harder and harder.

The real reason that you’re having a problem with an enslaving habit is because you are not tasting God. I’m not talking about believing God or even obeying God, I’m saying tasting — tasting God.

The secret to freedom from enslaving patterns of sin is worship. You need worship. You need great worship. You need weeping worship. You need glorious worship. You need to sense God’s greatness and to be moved by it — moved to tears and moved to laughter — moved by who God is and what he has done for you. And this needs to be happening all the time.

This type of worship is the only thing that can replace the little if only fire burning in your heart. We need a new fire that says, ‘If only I saw the Lord. If only he was close to my heart. If only I could feel him to be as great as I know him to be. If only I could taste his grace as sweet as I know it to be.’

And when that if only fire is burning in your heart, then you are free.

– Tim Keller

Sex in the Bible

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Tim Keller

The Christian attitude toward sex is popularly thought to be the Platonist view, but most definitely it is not. It differs quite radically from each of these three prominent views.

Contrary to the Platonist view, the Bible teaches that sex is very good (Gen. 1:31). God would not create and command something to be done in marriage (1 Cor. 7:3–5) that was not good. The Song of Solomon is filled with barefaced rejoicing in sexual pleasure. In fact, the Bible can be very uncomfortable for the prudish.

Contrary to the realist ‘sex-as-appetite’ view, the Bible teaches that sexual desires are broken and usually idolatrous. All by themselves, sexual appetites are not a safe guide, and we are instructed to flee our lusts (1 Cor. 6:18). Our sexual appetite does not operate the same as our other appetites. To illustrate this point, C. S. Lewis asks us to imagine a planet where people pay money to watch someone eat a mutton chop, where people ogle magazine pictures of food. If we landed on such a planet, we would think that the appetite of these people was seriously deranged. Yet that is just how modern people approach sex.

Contrary to the romantic view, the Bible teaches that love and sex are not primary for individual happiness. What the Bible says about sex and marriage ‘has a singularly foreign sound for those of us brought up on romantic notions of marriage and sex. We are struck by the stark realism of the Pauline recommendations in 1 Corinthians 7 . . . but [most of all by] the early church’s legitimation of singleness as a form of life [which] symbolized the necessity of the church to grow through witness and conversion.’

The Bible views sex not primarily as self-fulfillment but as a way to know Christ and build his kingdom. That view undercuts both the traditional society’s idolatry of sex-for-social-standing and the secular society’s idolatry of sex-for-personal-fulfillment.

– Tim Keller

Kill Him or Crown Him

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Tim Keller

Jesus, who unties such apparent extremes of character into such an integrated and balanced whole, demands an extreme response from every one of us. He forces our hand at every turn in the story. This man who throws open the gates of his kingdom to everyone, then warns the most devout insiders that their standing in the kingdom is in jeopardy without fruitfulness, is forever closing down our options. This man who can be weakened by a touch in a crowd on his way to bring a little girl back from the dead is a man you dare not tear your eyes from. (And we haven’t even yet witnessed the true depths of his restraint or the heights of his power.)

He is both the rest and the storm, both the victim and the wielder of the flaming sword, and you must accept him or reject him on the basis of both. Either you’ll have to kill him, or you’ll have to crown him. The one thing you can’t do is just say, ‘What an interesting guy.’ Those teachers of the law who began plotting to kill Jesus at the end of this episode in the temple — they may have been dead wrong about him, but their reaction makes perfect sense.

Please don’t try to keep Jesus on the periphery of your life. He cannot remain there. Give yourself to him — center your entire life on him — and let his power reproduce his character in you.

– Tim Keller

The Gospel and Other Relationships

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Tim Keller

To other races and cultures. The liberal (hedonist) approach is to relativize all cultures. (‘We can all get along because there is no truth.’) The conservatives (moralists) believe there is truth for evaluation of cultures, and so they choose some culture as superior and then they idolize it, feeling superior to others in the impulse of self-justifying pride. The gospel leads us to be, on the one hand, somewhat critical of all cultures, including our own (since there is truth), but on the other hand, we are morally superior to no one. After all, we are saved by grace alone. Christians will exhibit both moral conviction yet humility and cultural flexibility.

To non-Christians. The liberal/hedonist approach is to deny the legitimacy of evangelism altogether. The conservative/moralist person does believe in proselytizing, because ‘we are right and they are wrong.’ Such proselytizing is almost always offensive. But the gospel produces a constellation of traits in us.

*We are compelled to share the gospel out of generosity and love, not guilt.

*We are feed from fear of being ridiculed or hurt by others, since we already have the favor of God by grace.

*There is humility in our dealings with others, because we know we are saved by grace alone, not because of our superior insight or character.

*We are hopeful about anyone, even the ‘hard cases,’ because we were saved only because of grace, not because we were likely people to be Christians.

*We are courteous and careful with people. We don’t have to push or coerce them, for it is only God’s grace that opens hearts, not our eloquence or persistence or even their openness.

All these traits not only create a winsome evangelist but an excellent neighbor in a multi-cultural society.

To human authority. Moralists will tend to obey human authorities (family, tribe, government, cultural customs) too much, since they rely so heavily on their self-image of being moral and decent. Hedonists will either obey human authority too much (since they have no higher authority by which they can judge their culture) or else too little (since they may only obey when they know they won’t get caught). That means either authoritarianism or anarchy. But the gospel gives you both a standard by which to oppose human authority (if it contradicts the gospel), and it gives you incentive to obey the civil authorities from the heart, even when you could get away with disobedience.

– Tim Keller