Set Your Ambitions
The word ambition carries some strong and often negative connotations, especially for followers of Jesus. So a healthy understanding of that concept is essential for leaders on the rise.
Ambition is a double-edged sword. Earning an opportunity – a promotion or a chance to lead a key project, for instance – is exciting and rewarding. It feels good to be recognized for our talents and hard work. If we’re not careful, however, our pride can morph into a sense of entitlement and dissatisfaction. No matter what we achieve, it’s not enough. Instead of living fully in the position we’ve been given, we look to the next “there.” We become hooked on success.
Ambition is not a bad thing. God calls you to “work … with all your heart” (Colossians 3:23 NIV). In other words, do your best. But when our ambition is born out of our reliance on ourselves and becomes too focused on the typical rewards of success – power, recognition and money – we can lose sight of why God has called us to be leaders in the first place.
The lives of Saul, Jonathan, and David were intertwined in ways that often illustrated the power of godly ambition and the perils of selfish ambition. Saul, Israel’s first king, experienced achievement addiction. He began to rely on his own abilities and his heart turned away from God. Jonathan, Saul’s son and heir, and David, who was called by God to replace Saul, both put God’s will above any self-serving ambitions. David, of course, also fell victim to his selfish ambition, which cost him dearly.
When we keep our eyes firmly fixed on God as the provider of our talent and ability, we can pursue appropriate ambition and experience success without losing ourselves. It’s OK to dream about the opportunity to lead at the next level and to eagerly desire new challenges. Just remember who has prepared you to do great things and that your success as you rise to the next level is dependent on Him, not you.
Rise to the Challenge:
· List 3-5 leadership ambitions you hold.
· Evaluate your motives for those ambitions. Are they God-ambitions or self-ambitions?
· Discuss your ambitions with someone you trust to help ensure you aren’t justifying self-ambitions or running away from God-ambitions in the name of false humility.
Father, give me ambition to serve you. Use me to do great things for your kingdom. In Jesus’ name, amen.