“Your ambition will only be a delight in you when you delight in Him.”
— Haydn Nelson
“Thus I make it my ambition to proclaim the good news.”
— Romans 15:20 (NRSV)
Ambition is generally frowned upon in the Christian context, because it implies selfish ambition. And, who of us can extricate ourselves from the web of self-deceit in going after a thing, a goal, a position, etc?
Ambition proves tricky. We may start out on a journey with good intent only to lose our way at some point. Rarely do we venture out upon some bold endeavour, having had success partway through, without experiencing some humbling reality that reveals our devoted drive turned to selfish ambition.
But there is an opportunity in ambition, if, and it is a big if, we have the ambition to serve Christ, much as the apostle Paul alluded to.
When ambition has substance its substance has ambition in God.
The Desires of Our Hearts – When Matched with God
Underpinning any reconcilable ambition for God is a much more basic concern.
What is it about the ambition that so captivates us? Why do we so earnestly desire to serve in such ways?
It’s good when we feel the Spirit of God searching us in these ways. We are only of true value to God in our service, not least of all to ourselves, when we serve without thinking; when no thought is entered into whether we do it or not.
When the desires of our hearts are matched with God there is a summary blessing simply because there is no room for second thought.
In such a place of the soul’s remembrance—well beyond for the moment, the carnal—we are blessed because we trust, and we serve because we must. We are under God’s direction.
This is a sense of surrender that has the purity of ambition about it; an ambition pivoting on Christ alone. This sense of ambition drives us to serve and we may marvel at our new-found and sustained energy.
When our ambition is centred around our delight in Jesus, we have the very basis of joy to consider, especially in not overanalysing anything.
We do this in faith: to submit without thought for the things God is telling us to do right now. And we keep doing it. Having committed ourselves fully, we find that God provides the odd brief hiatus—which is rest enough to recover from. Apart from that the candles of our spirits burn brightly enough.
We find our faith never stretches us too far; that God’s grace is always sufficient.
Enjoying the good life is as simple as giving our lives away—coupled with a pleasantly cheerful heart. What we take in this life we lose, but in everything we give we gain.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.