Ambition

If you are a professing Christian, what is your greatest life ambition?

J.J. Rodale’s Synonym Finder lists the following words (others also) as synonyms for ambition: aspiration, goal, aim, target, destination, longing, yearning, hope, dream, desire, plan, scheme, wish, or end point.

Simply put, ambition is our desire to pursue and accomplish a worthwhile goal. Ambitious people are those who work hard and often long to bring their desired goal to pass.

Growing up, as a young man under twenty, my career ambition was to become a cardiac surgeon. Therefore, I was an exemplary student. I was always at or near the top of my class in high school and college. I was extremely ambitious, working odd jobs to support my educational/career pursuit. My ambitious aspiration was to attend medical school and become a physician.

My life changed radically when I received Jesus Christ into my heart on October 6, 1972.  One year later God called me to preach the Gospel. My personal ambition shifted from being a surgeon who worked on physical hearts to an ambassador of Christ to help men and women receive a changed spiritual heart through faith in Jesus.

Excited, full of joyful anticipation and expectation, I passionately pursued my calling as a minister. I received top grades, honors and recognition for my Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from San Diego State University and my and Masters of Divinity degree from Asbury Theological Seminary. Throughout my ministry, I excelled in preaching, teaching, soul-winning, church building and pastoral care of God’s people. I was ambitious to bring glory to God and as much good to as many people as possible.  

My driving ambition was to be the very best minister of the Good News the Lord could make me. I even had fanciful dreams of being the next Billy Graham!

One day I read II Corinthians 5:9 in the Bible.  Paul wrote “Therefore also we have as our ambition, whether at home or present, TO BE PLEASING TO HIM.” This scripture hit me like a ton of proverbial bricks. Up close and personal. In my face. Stopped me dead in my spiritual tracks.

In the context of this verse (verses 6-8), the Apostle of grace declares that we walk by faith, not by sight. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. He says we are of good courage, preferring to be absent from the body and at home with the Lord. So, the Christian ambition is to please God, whether we are at home or absent from our body.

Bottom line: Live or die for Jesus, our ambition is to please God.

Many, many times during my faith journey, the Holy Spirit has asked “Hey Steve, who are you trying to please? Please Steve? Please people? Please God?

Please Steve. Tempted often, I choose not to go there. Life is not about my glory. My pleasure. My name. My aspirations and goals. Jesus saved me for eternity to please God, not little old me. My ambitions should not be selfish ones, but Christlike ambitions.

Jesus died and rose again for me so that, through His resurrection power, I can die to self and live to Him. That pleases God.

Please People. What an impossible task. There are people, that no matter what we do, they will never be pleased with us. Never approve of or support us. People pleasing is a dangerous trap for everyone who serves others. Ultimately, you and I don’t answer to people. We answer to Almighty God.

Pleasing people is a dead-end road that leads to confusion, frustration, conflict and failure.

Please God. Honestly, who wouldn’t want to please the One who saves their soul? On my, Jesus died so we could live for eternity with the Father in heaven. As His blood-bought sons and daughter, how can His children not live for His pleasure and glory? The ultimate sacrifice was made, the price paid in full for our salvation. Thank You Lord Jesus for doing for me what I could never do for myself. I choose to please You because it pleased You to save me!  

Pleasing God is the highest, holiest, healthiest and happiest ambition you and I can have.

Ambition check.

  • Do you have worldly or Kingdom ambitions?
  • What motivates your ambitions as a Christian in a lost, searching world?
  • Are you ambitious in seeking and fulfilling the Christian ambition to be pleasing to the Lord?
  • Would those who know you say that you live to please the Lord?
  • Would God say that you live to please Him?

“Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that, as you received from us instruction, as to how you should walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you may excel still more.” I Thessalonians 4:1

A Word For Your Week:
Make it your ambition to please the Lord.