Christian Ambition

Should a Christian wish to succeed? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Yesterday, my pastor did a sermon on the temptations of Jesus and spoke about how we can often want to have shortcuts. It would have been easy for Jesus to bypass the cross by jumping from the temple or to go ahead and get all authority by bowing down to the devil, but in both cases he refused. In the end, he ended up getting billions to see him as the Messiah and today does have that authority.

In this, he talked about the drive for success in Christians and I was pleased to hear him say that ambition is a good thing to have. Christians should seek to be ambitious people. Unfortunately, as I as complimenting him afterwards on that, he did tell me that all too often he sees the opposite attitude.

We tend to think it’s humble to not succeed. After all, we don’t want to steal any of the glory of God. Certainly that is something true. None of us wants to take glory that should go to God and give it to ourselves, but let us remember that the goal for the Christian is to give glory to God.

How are you giving God glory by being mediocre?

If you want to have God glorified in your life, then you give God as much as you can for Him to get that glory with. For some of us in ministry, that does mean we seek to give the best sermons, write the best books, do the best in counseling that we can, do the best in debates and giving answers, etc. Not everyone is in ministry, so what else do you do?

If you are a Christian doctor, you be the best doctor you can be. You seek to learn all about the field that you’re in that you can and you seek to have the best reputation with your patients for treating disease. We are told regularly in the Proverbs about how important it is to have a good name. Seek that name.

If you are a teacher, you seek to be the best you can. You seek to make sure your students know the subject well. You seek to learn all you can and make an impact on the lives of your students. You want it to be that they remember you and what a legacy it will be if the teacher they remember is the one who was also clear in her Christian walk.

If you are a businessman, you seek to run the best business that you can. You seek to have the best product or the best service. Do you believe God gave you a mind for your business? Then you seek to use that mind to the best of your ability. You seek to please as many of your clientele as possible.

Some of you might be thinking about the danger of wealth. If you build up too much wealth, won’t that be a bad thing?

Excuse me. Do you know how much good you could do if you had a lot of wealth?

Imagine going to that poor family in church and making sure their children have toys on Christmas. Imagine going to that single mother and making sure she gets a car so she can take her children to and from school. Imagine going to that grandmother who lives alone and paying her electric bill when it looks like no one else would. Imagine helping that student who wants to go to school by paying for his college education.

Also, imagine the ministries that you could support, just like Deeper Waters. I was talking with a friend yesterday about the possibility of my doing a radio show that would be syndicated on the internet with 20,000 listeners. Now we’re in a tight financial situation right now and I started thinking “If each of those listeners gave just $1 a year to the ministry, we could be secure and be sure to have our time devoted to full-time ministry.”

To run a ministry takes some of that wealth. If you build up wealth, you can easily use it for the Kingdom of God. Of course, there is always the temptation to misuse wealth or be fixated on it, but wealth like anything else is just a tool and it is not to be avoided for that reason.

What about pride? That’s another one.

This will also depend on you. Allie has been present when I have received compliments from people. Those are always nice to hear and I will tell you that you do not need to respond negatively internally to compliments. Be happy about them and thank the people who give them. Yet always also tell yourself this.

“It is an honor to be used as a servant in the Kingdom of God.”

Remember. It is your role to be a servant. You are just doing what you are supposed to do. God is using you, but you are not essential. He could just as easily have used someone else. He chose you. Be grateful for that opportunity. You are here to build up His Kingdom, the one that will never fade, not yours, the one that will fade with time. Even if your name lives on for years, it will only live under the name of Christ. Aquinas’s legacy could fall without killing the cause of Christ. If the cause of Christ goes down, then Aquinas will be a great thinker for his time, but just so sorely misguided.

To deal with pride, start developing Christlikeness now.

Then, whatever you have in mind to do, seek to do the best at it that you can, provided it is in line with Christian teachings. Seek it all for the glory of God and to hear those great words “Well done good and faithful servant.” That will be something you can smile about for all eternity.

Which is how long you’ll have to smile.

In Christ,

Nick Peters

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