Christian, we need your ambition. Does that make you nervous? Resist it. You were born with a drive for glory. That genetic pulse can be pointed towards God and his glory, resulting in “godly ambition”. Or it can curve inward making much of ME and corrupting the glory-drive. That’s “selfish ambition”. But make no mistake: Everyone lives and longs for some kind of glory.
Ever ponder this passage?
“He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.” Romans 2: 6-8
As passages go, this one is pretty mind-bending. Here Paul says that the one who seeks for glory obtains,…(drum roll please)….eternal life! That glory-seeker is then set in contrast to another kind of glory-seeker who is “self-seeking and obeys unrighteousness”. Their reward is wrath and fury.
Think about it: Both groups have the God-installed drive for glory. In other words, ambition. The group with godly ambition gets heaven. The self-glory group gets hell.
Back to my point. Christian, we need your ambition. The kind that inspires big dreams in common folk to do glorious things by God’s powerful Spirit. You need to model that in your weekdays and live into it over the weekend. Abundant and godly ambition for the spreading of God’s glory. Now more than ever, we need that kind of ministry.
Ambition: The Virtuous Vice?
Sure, it will be misunderstood. Let’s face it: there’s a quirky awkwardness among Christians when it comes to ambition. Call somebody “ambitious”, and you might as well call him or her an amoral, me-centered, backstabbing, social-climbing, power-hungry prima donna. Seriously, if you want to stop a prayer meeting cold, just raise your hand and ask folks to pray that you’ll be more ambitious in life. You might as well add that you need a ride to the pub to do vodka-shooters after the meeting.
I’ve noticed it’s getting worse too. In recent years, I’m seeing a lack of optimism and faith in God among Christians. The pandemic, ongoing political strife, civil unrest, wars and rumors of wars from around the world—all these can (and have) made Christians more ambivalent and cynical. For some, there’s a real sense that the future has stagnated; we feel stuck in a mire from which we can’t escape.
Friends, the times are growing darker. That’s why we need serious believers exercising godly ambition to do great things for our glorious God. We need Christians bold enough to remind their friends and family that eternal life is promised to those who “by patience in well-doing seek for glory”.
You see, the stakes are high. This is about our future. It’s about the kingdom, the economy, planting churches, starting businesses, raising families, preparing the next generation—it’s about a thriving civilization.
But that’s just the earthly stuff. Romans 2 is ultimately about immortality. It’s about which glory we will pursue to decide where we will spend eternity. Yessir, a lot hangs on the direction of our ambition; this remarkable glory-drive that draws us towards heaven or hell.
Christian, you need it. In fact, you not only need it, but you need to pray that your family and church have it too.
It’s Not About You
But it doesn’t start with you. Upon your conversion, a bundle of desires were uploaded into the hard-drive of your soul. Graces produces the drive for God’s glory. Real power generating new passions. This means that because of Jesus and what he has done, you were wired with the drive you need to give your life and gifts for God’s glory.
“Sincere grace is a powerful principle in the soul, and the power of it appears partly in the nature of its actings. It is no dull, inactive, ineffectual thing. There is a holy ardency and vigor in the actings of grace.” Jonathan Edwards
Christian, you were converted with a drive for God’s glory. God has given you sincere grace to create holy ardency. It’s an unstoppable vigor unleashed in your soul. And you have been called not just to enjoy it, but to live it and stir it up in others.
We need you to do that.
Tenacious Tuesday Questions
Where does the world you are waking up to today seem particularly intimidating? What does it look like to turn your glory-drive towards God despite the appearance of those circumstances? What is one thing you can decide to do right now that will bring glory to God within the next few hours?
Precious Savior, you know I long for my own glory too often. It bubbles up within me each and every day. Thank you for living the perfect life to God’s glory that bankrolled the righteousness that is now reckoned to me. Help me today to become what you have already declared me to be!