march 7th - ambition
Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Phil 2:1-4 (NKJV)
If you look up the word "ambition" in a dictionary, it will give you a definition that reads something like this: "An earnest desire for some type of achievement or distinction, as power, honor, fame, or wealth, and the willingness to strive for its attainment." Generally speaking, the objective of ambition is to gain recognition for ourselves. It's the voice of inner-child crying, "I want to be somebody!" This can even be true for those involved in the work of the ministry. The driving force behind the effort might be a shallow, self-centered ambition...but, it does not have to be that way!
Let me suggest to you that the dictionary definition is incomplete in that it attempts to narrowly define the motivation driving ambition as a negative force. Indeed, the Apostle Paul uses the adverb "selfish" in describing a negative type of ambition. But, what if the motivation behind our ambition isn't self-centered. What if we were highly motivated to work for a cause without selfish ambition? I believe that the early church, that we read about in the Book of Acts, was highly motivated. They were aggressive, they took incredible risks, they were generous with their time and money; and in most cases, it seems that they did these things with a Kingdom-minded ambition. Let me suggest that there is such a "thing" as Godly-ambition.
Method actors are always asking the question, "What is my
motivation?" Motivation answers the "why" behind my actions. If the objective of my accomplishments has nothing to do with me gaining recognition--what then compels me to give of myself, my resources, my time, my talent, my effort? The answer should be obvious. According to the Apostle Paul, "Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it for the glory of God."
There it is: Be ambitious to bring God glory. Be ambitious to proclaim the Gospel. Be ambitious to make Jesus famous. Be ambitious to be God's servant. Be ambitious to speak the truth in love. Be ambitious to live my life for Christ. Turn from my natural instinct, which leans towards selfish ambition, and turn it into a selfless ambition that excels in commitment to Kingdom work.
Author's Note: Within the context of my ambition to build the Kingdom and bring glory to God there should be a "place" set aside for the purpose of serving others. In the name of the Lord I need to love, serve, help and encourage others. This should be done with a motivation that seeks no reward or recognition. I simply need to serve others for no other reason that I want people to be blessed and drawn to Jesus though the actions of my life. RJD