The Path to Godly Ambition Is LitBy Dave Harvey
August 21, 2020
Christians are flammable. God created us to burn, but not like a match—bright and hot but quickly extinguished. That does little good for others and brings little glory to God.
Ambitions are like a blowtorch. God ignites them, he points them in the right direction, and eternal work gets done. The flame is sustained by the fuel of grace. God’s work in God’s way for God’s glory. Why burn for anything else?
Most people think of ambition as climbing, upward mobility, always looking for a step up (and willing to step on others to get it). But biblical ambition points in the other direction—the direction Christ traveled. Our Master emptied himself, lighting the path for our ambitions. We’re called to follow Him.
As we empty ourselves, we find the fullness of Christ. We look out for others’ rights ahead of our own (Phil 2:3). We find joy in advancing others’ success. We ask others to help us think realistically about ourselves. We follow Christ, who was in the form of God but—incredibly—made himself nothing and calls us to do the same.
A look at this well-known passage of Scripture is fitting:
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Phil. 2:5–8)
I hope you know that it’s no accident that God has put within your heart an instinctual motivation to aspire to things, to make something happen, to have an impact, to count for something in life.
It’s a paradox: Godly ambition makes us downwardly mobile. And guided by the guardrail of humility that comes from God dwelling within us, our instinctual motivation to aspire can be transformed into a powerful and noble force for His glory.
Godly ambitions are humble because they set their sights on serving the Savior—the highest goal imaginable. As Charles Spurgeon puts it in The Check Book of the Bank of Faith: Precious Promises for Daily Readings, “This is Heaven to a saint: in all things to serve the Lord Christ, and to be owned by Him as His servant is our soul’s high ambition for eternity.”
This article is based on Dave’s book, Rescuing Ambition. Featured image credit.