Daily Keller

~ Wisdom from Tim Keller 365 Days a Year

Daily Keller

Motivating with Guilt or Grace

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Galatians For You, Tim Keller

Christians tend to motivate others with guilt. We tend to say: You would do this if you were really committed Christians, indicating that we are committed and all that is needed is for others to become as good as we are! This is why so many churches quench the motivation of people for ministry. In our shoes, Paul would say: Remember the grace God has showered on you — what does living out and enjoying that grace look like in this situation?

– Tim Keller

God the Defender

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Generous Justice, Tim Keller

Why should we be concerned about the vulnerable ones? It is because God is concerned about them. Consider the following texts:

He executes justice [mishpat] for the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free, the LORD gives sight to the blind, he lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves those who live justly. The LORD watches over the immigrant and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked. Psalm 146:7-9

The LORD your God . . . defends the cause [mishpat ] of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the immigrant, giving him food and clothing. Deuteronomy 10:17-18

It is striking to see how often God is introduced as the defender of these vulnerable groups. Don’t miss the significance of this. When people ask me, ‘How do you want to be introduced?’ I usually propose they say, ‘This is Tim Keller, minister at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City.’ Of course I am many other things, but that is the main thing I spend my time doing in public life. Realize, then, how significant it is that the Biblical writers introduce God as ‘a father to the fatherless, a defender of widows’ (Psalm 68:4-5). This is one of the main things he does in the world. He identifies with the powerless, he takes up their cause.

– Tim Keller

Uprooting Idols

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Tim Keller

If you uproot an idol in your life and fail to plant the love of Christ in its place, the idol will grow back.

– Tim Keller

With Us in the Fire

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Tim Keller, Walking with God through Pain and Suffering

If you believe in Jesus and you rest in Him, then suffering will relate to your character like fire relates to gold. Do you want to know who you are — your strengths and weaknesses? Do you want to be a compassionate person who skillfully helps people who are hurting? Do you want to have such a profound trust in God that you are fortified against the disappointments of life? Do you want simply to be wise about how life goes?

Those are four crucial things to have — but none of them are readily achievable without suffering. There is no way to know who you really are until you are tested. There is no way to really empathize and sympathize with other suffering people unless you have suffered yourself. There is no way to really learn how to trust in God until you are drowning.

But God is with us in the fire. He knows what it’s like to live through the miseries of this world — He understands. He is near, available to be known and depended upon within the hardship. He walks with us, but the real question is — will we walk with Him? If we have created a false God-of-my-program, then when life falls apart we will simply assume He has abandoned us and we won’t seek Him.

– Tim Keller

Lasting Change

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Tim Keller

People often try to fill their hearts with the danger of what they are doing. You can tell yourself ‘if I keep doing this it will cause problems for me.’ That may be true and could be good ‘smelling salts’ to get you to recognize your problem. But if that is all you say to your heart, it (as it were) bends the metal of your heart but doesn’t really soften and permanently reshape it. The motivation is ultimately selfish and it only brings short-term change.

We need to go deeper to the only lasting way to change our hearts — take them to the radical, costly grace of God in Christ on the cross. You show your heart the infinite depths to which he went so that you would be free from sin and its condemnation. This fills you with a sense not just of the danger or sin, but also of its grievousness. Think about how ungrateful it is, think of how your sin is not just against God’s law but also against his heart. Melt your heart with the knowledge of what he’s done for you. Tremble before the knowledge of what he is worth — he is worthy of all glory.

– Tim Keller
Words found in the Redeemer Report, “Change and Grace: Part 3” by Tim Keller

Clean Up

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The Reason for God, Tim Keller

The mistaken belief that a person must ‘clean up’ his or her own life in order to merit God’s presence is not Christianity. This means, though, that the church will be filled with immature and broken people who still have a long way to go emotionally, morally, and spiritually.

– Tim Keller

Slow and Steady

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Tim Keller, Walking with God through Pain and Suffering

There are many people who think of spiritual growth as something like high diving. They say, ‘I am going to give my life to the Lord! I am going to change all these terrible habits, and I am really going to transform! Give me another six months and I am going to be a new man or new woman!’

That is not what a walk is. A walk is day in and day out praying; day in and day out Bible and Psalms reading; day in and day out obeying, talking to Christian friends and going to corporate worship, committing yourself to and fully participating in the life of a church. It is rhythmic, on and on and on. To walk with God is a metaphor that symbolizes slow and steady progress.

– Tim Keller

Sharing the Joy

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Center Church, Tim Keller

In order to share the joy and love that God knew within himself, he created a good world that he cares for, a world full of human beings who were called to worship, know, and serve him, not themselves.

– Tim Keller

Walking Through Suffering

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Tim Keller, Walking with God through Pain and Suffering

One of the main metaphors the Bible gives us for facing affliction is walking — walking through something difficult, perilous and potentially fatal.

The walking metaphor points to the idea of progress. Many ancients saw adversity as merely something to withstand and endure without flinching, or even feeling, until it goes away. Modern Western people see suffering as something like adverse weather, something you avoid or insulate yourself from until it passes by.

The unusual balance of the Christian faith is seen in the metaphor of walking — through darkness, swirling waters or fire. We are not to lose our footing and just let the suffering have its way with us. But we are also not to think we can somehow avoid it or be completely impervious to it either. We are to meet and move through suffering without shock and surprise, without denial of our sorrow and weakness, without resentment or paralyzing fear, yet also without acquiescence or capitulation, without surrender or despair.

– Tim Keller

The Ultimate Defeat of Evil

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Tim Keller

If heaven is a compensation for all the stuff we wanted that we never had, that is one thing. But if the new heaven and new earth is our hope — and it is — it will make everything horrible we’ve experienced nothing but a nightmare. And as a nightmare, it will infinitely, correspondingly increase our future joy and glory in a way it wouldn’t have been increased if we’d never suffered.

That is the ultimate defeat of evil. To say that our suffering is an illusion or to say we will be compensated for our suffering is one thing. But to say that the suffering we experience now will one day be a servant of our joy does not just compensate for it, it undoes it.

‘Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.’ There has never been an understanding of suffering that was more hopeful or encouraging.

– Tim Keller