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Christian Ambition Unveiled: Navigating Success with Purpose and Faith

In today's fast-paced society, it can be easy to get caught up in the pursuit of success. But as Christians, it's important to remember that our ambitions should align with God's plans and purpose.  Balancing our desire for achievement with our devotion to the faith can seem daunting; however, through the Holy Spirit we know God and have the ability to understand His will and ways.  We get to embrace this opportunity by surrendering all things to Him with hearts purposed towards intentionally serving Him and His kingdom through our aspirations.


In this post, we explore the intersection of Christian ambition and success, shedding light on how we can pursue our goals in a way that honors the faith, reflecting our devotion to God while making an impact in eternity.


What is Ambition?

Ambition is “a strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work.”


Now, let's look at the word ambition in Greek, which has two meanings.


Selfish Ambition in GK is Eritheía and is linked to strife, jealousy, and even divisions in the faith.  It implies a harmful ambition motivated by a selfish spirit bent on immediate personal gain at any cost and often involves works of the flesh.  Whereas, “Ambition” (to make one’s aim) in GK is Philotiméomai, which means “be fond of honor,” which denotes a positive kind of ambition or aim to accomplish a particular goal. Selfish ambition is contrary to the heart of the Christian faith, which is based on sacrificial love and humble service.


Our Lord Jesus demonstrates the reality of holy ambition, walking consistently in the will of the Father, bringing glory to His name.  Therefore, let’s consider the following:


“For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.”

John 6:38.


“Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28.


And we are reminded by the Apostle Paul, “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 emptied himself, by 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.” Philippians 2:5-8.


Aligning Aspirations with God's Purpose:

The Bible serves as our guide when seeking to align our ambitions with God's purpose. Proverbs 19:21 reminds us, “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”


Our ambitions are subject to God's sovereign will, which encourages us to take a deliberate approach to goal-setting. Rather than succumbing to the world's standards, we are called to seek divine guidance and shape our aspirations in accordance with God's purpose.


Integrating Biblical Principles in Ambition:

Success, when defined by biblical principles, takes on a transformative meaning. We are encouraged to seek God’s kingdom first and be established in His righteousness; as we do, we are positioned to receive every blessing from our Father in heaven. This space of grace prepares our hearts for action to be the hands and feet of Jesus while giving voice to His word to those in our sphere of influence.


Philippians 2:3-4 urges us to prioritize others, fostering a selfless ambition that seeks the well-being of the community. As we pursue our ambitions, we are called to embody love, integrity, and compassion in all our endeavors. By integrating these virtues, our ambitions become a testimony to the transformative power of faith in Christ Jesus, influencing not only personal success but also positively impacting the lives of others.


The Role of Prayer and Trust in God's Guidance:

Proverbs 3:5-6 provides a foundational principle for us to navigate our ambitions: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”


Through prayer and a reliance on God's wisdom, we can seek clarity and direction in our pursuits. By acknowledging God's sovereignty and submitting to His guidance, our journey becomes a collaborative effort with the Creator, ensuring alignment with His divine plan.


Key Points to Consider:

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Setting Christ-Centered Goals: Begin by setting goals that align with biblical values by prioritizing others above ourselves, encouraging selfless ambition that seeks the well-being of those around us. Let our aspirations reflect the love and compassion exemplified by Christ.

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Seeking God's Guidance: Begin by trusting the Lord through prayer and prioritizing His word; we come to know Him. As we come to know Him, we humbly surrender our desires to Him, allowing the Spirit to align them with His will.

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Balancing Ambition with Contentment: Let's set ourselves up for success by cultivating contentment in every season. 1 Timothy 6:6 emphasizes that godliness with contentment is great gain. Our pursuit of ambition should not lead to discontentment, but rather, it should be accompanied by gratitude for the blessings God has provided.

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Accountability and Humility: Let's immerse ourselves in a community of believers who can provide accountability, biblical counsel, and support. Proverbs 27:17 states, "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another." In our journey of Christian ambition, let's remain humble, open to correction, and willing to uplift others on their paths to fulfilling God's purposes.


Conclusion:

In conclusion, as we embark into the new year, let us leave behind the small ambitions that the world often promotes – ambitions that are self-centered, temporal, and rooted in the desires of the flesh. Instead, let our ambitions be inspired by the profound teachings of Christ, who exemplified humility and sacrificial service.


May our  Christian ambitions align with the eternal purposes of God, seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness. As the apostle Paul urged, let us make it our ambition to preach the gospel, avoiding the pursuit of worldly recognition. May we also aspire to live quietly, diligently minding our own affairs, and working with our hands, reflecting the transformative power of Christ within us.


Remember, the world and its desires are passing away, but those who do the will of God abide forever. Let our ambitions be marked by a desire to please Him in all we do, leaving a legacy that transcends time and echoes in eternity.


Let's aspire to make heaven crowded!



Biblical Journal Prompts:


  1. Reflect on a recent ambition or goal you pursued. How can you align it more closely with biblical principles such as love, integrity, and humility?

  2. Consider your current goals. In what ways can you actively seek God's guidance through prayer and reflection on His Word?

  3. Examine your heart for contentment. Are there areas in your life where discontentment may be hindering your spiritual growth? How can you cultivate gratitude in those areas?

  4. Think about your circle of influence. How can you surround yourself with a community that encourages godliness, accountability, and humility in your pursuit of ambition?

  5. Take a moment to meditate on Proverbs 16:3. How can you commit your plans to the Lord more intentionally, trusting in His guidance and wisdom as you pursue your ambitions?



Scripture Reference:


“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33.


“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others.”

Philippians 2:3-4.


“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6.


“Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.”Proverbs 16:3.


“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9.


“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” Proverbs 19:21.


“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”Proverbs 27:17.


“And to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.”

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12.


“The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”1 Timothy 1:5.


“But godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Timothy 6:6.




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