God focussed ambitions?

August 20th, 2010

When I was growing up it was considered good to be ambitious. People who had ambition and a purpose at young age were thought of well and looked upon favourably. I have to admit that I was never overly ambitious for anything as a kid and into my teens!

But what is ambition and is it good or bad to be ambitious? Dictionary.com says that ambition is “an earnest desire for some type of achievement or distinction, as power, honor, fame, or wealth, and the willingness to strive for its attainment”.

As you can see from the above definition ambition is about having a goal or dream and striving to attain it. It doesn’t take much to see that there can be good and bad ambitions. Ambition can be either both positive or negative depending on how it is worked out.

When I did a Bible search on the word ambition I found six main references in the NIV. Two were what I would consider positive (Romans 15:20, 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12) and four were negative and were talking about selfish ambition that is self seeking (Galatians 5:20, Philippians 1:17, Philippians 2:3, James 3:14-16).

One positive reference for ambiton is found in Paul’s letter to the church in Rome. Romans 15:20 says, “It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation”. Preaching the Gospel and bringing people to Christ is very positive and something worth aspiring too.

The second positive reference is found in 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12. It says, “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody”. Paul encourages the believers to be ambitous to live a good life in front of non believers.

I think the key for me is that ambition needs to be focussed for good and be God focussed. I have never been ambitious to have the biggest house, earn the most money or have the most “toys”. But I am ambitious to be the best husband and father I can be, have a close walk with God and see people become lifelong followers of Jesus.

How about you? Are you ambitious? Are your ambitions God focussed and for the good of others? I think this is worth reflecting on today.

God Bless,

Dave