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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Quiet Time: Ambition

Read: 2 Corinthians 5:8-10

Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before obscure men. – Proverbs 22:29

am•bi•tion [am-bish-uh n] noun:an earnest desire for some type of achievement or distinction

I love that scene in the movie “Facing the Giants” where one kid carries another kid on his back the entire length of the football field after thinking he could only go fifty yards, at best. I think they call it the “death crawl”. The coach was trying to show that when we give our absolute best we can accomplish much more than we ever thought possible. Very inspiring! But, it got me to thinking about what the bible says about ambition. I think it’s a bit different from the corporate industrialized version many Christians have come to believe.

Here’s a little exercise that may help. Replace the word “ambition” with “earnest desire to distinguish ourselves” in these next few verses and you’ll see what I mean.

2 Corinthians 5:9
Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.

1 Thessalonians 4:11
and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you,

So, here are a couple of practical prayers I plan to pray since I know I can’t accomplish anything godly on my own:

“Help me to work quietly for Christ; not myself.”
“Keep me from doing anything that does not please Jesus.”

By the way, there are a couple of ways to know when we’re moving away from "The Way":

James 3:14 &16
But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth.
For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.

And, here are a couple of practical questions I’m going to ask myself while moving along this journey:

Is it all about me and what I receive?
Is there disorder or any hint of evil?

If the answer to either of these questions is, “Yes”, then it’s time to drop back and pray (see above).

Everyone likes to be appreciated and acknowledged for a job well done. The bible even seems to teach that when we’re really good at what we do we’ll be honored among men (Proverbs 22:29). However, if our goal is to be honored among men and not pleasing to Him we can know that we stand in direct opposition to God’s goal for our lives. And that’s not good.

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