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Below are some videos I've run across that I've found to be a blessing. Be sure to double-click so you can view the larger screen...

My grandparents were married for 77 years. And one of the greatest gifts my father gave to me before he died was his love and faithfulness to my mom for over 60 yrs. Here's a moving song about staying by one of my favorite artists...

Amazing to read (and hear!) the teachings of A.W. Tozer from 60 years ago, and to realize how spot-on they are today. The Root of the Righteous was such a powerful and prophetic little book. The Pursuit of God is is considered a classic. I strongly encourage you to read some of his writings, to grow deeper in your walk with the Father. If you've got some time, here are some of his messages to listen to that I hope bless you...


Another reason to root for the Iggles...


Main | Peace »

Thoughts on Ambition vs. Calling

As you can see, I haven't been very good at posting blog entries here. But I recently was given a homework assignment for a Ministry Training course I was taking at our church. Our pastor asked us to write a 1000 word essay on Ambition vs. Calling. And so, I took the opportunity to use it here as a blog entry. Hope that wasn't ambitious of me!

There are some who would say that there are two kinds of ambition. One is a godly ambition that seeks to glorify God.  The other is an ungodly ambition or vainglory that seeks man’s approval.  These proponents of godly ambition quote Romans 2:7 and John 12:43, and say that seeking glory is ok as long as it’s from God. They believe ambition needs to be rescued from its fallen state, because God actually desires for us to be ambitious for Him.

I think the problem with this line of reasoning is much the same problem John Piper had with his phrase “Christian Hedonism.”  And it’s not just the confusion of juxtaposing holy and unholy words together.  Christian Hedonism is about pursuing one’s own happiness, as long as the happiness is found in God.  Ambition, like hedonism, also begins with self.  So “godly ambition” is about pursuing one’s own goals, as long as those goals bring glory to God.

Over the years, I have been greatly blessed by Dr. Piper’s preaching and insight, and this subject is something he has devoted his life to helping people discover.  It’s woven through every message he gives.  I don’t agree with the phrase- though, to be honest, I’m uncertain if I understand him correctly to disagree.  Like godly ambition, when the rationale for the term is explained, it sounds right.

But here’s where I struggle with these phrases.  No matter how they’re prefaced, the terms seem to imply God blesses works that are self-initiated, self-discerned, and self-satisfying.  They seem to be saying I can achieve a godly selfishness.  Since we’re all selfish, better to be selfish for the things of God.  And that makes my head spin.

We may have the best of intentions.  We may even pray first.  But if we haven’t died first, then our flesh is likely going to corrupt whatever we’re ambitious about.  As Paul declares in Gal 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.”  So I must first die to myself.  If I am dead and He now lives in me, then I am to take up the basin and towel as my Savior showed me.  It is a life of servanthood.  Joyful, yes!  But joyful servanthood, not selfishness.

Many times we hear Christians misquoting 1 Cor 10:31 as a defense for why they’re doing something questionable (if not sinful).  Do everything to the glory of God!  So now we have Christian actors partaking in ungodly movies “to the glory of God.”  Christian singers singing ungodly songs “to the glory of God.”  Christian casino workers, Christian pole dancers (as in the news recently), etc… It’s the same scripture used to defend entertainment in our worship services.

But again, even if our ambitions are biblically God-honoring, they do not honor God if they originate with us.  He is the Potter and we are the clay.  No matter how much I want to honor Him as a beautiful vase, if God’s purpose for me is to be a useful commode, then I will be a useful commode for His glory!  Our joy isn’t in getting to do what we want, but in bringing joy to our Creator.


David had a God-honoring desire to build a temple for the Lord.  But God said he was a man of war who had shed too much blood, so the task was to be given to his son Solomon.  David honored God by obeying God, rather than by going ahead with his own ambitious plan.  It would never have worked out- or if it did, it would have been an immense and marvelous-to-behold structure, devoid of God’s presence.

And so everything must start with Him.  Whether corporately as a church or personally in our own life’s work, every idea, every plan must initiate with Him if it is to be blessed by Him.  As the writer of Proverbs points out, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.”  We’re not to follow worldly wisdom or business models.  Pragmatism is the antithesis of all that is Spirit-led.  Surveys and censuses are what cost David his greatest losses.  If we truly seek to know God and have His blessing on our lives, then we are to listen to His still, small voice, (however contrary to logic and common sense it may be at times), and obey.

It is His voice that first shows us our need for a Savior and calls us into a relationship with Him.  The deeper our relationship, the more we listen to and obey His voice (and visa versa).  It is His voice that calls us to service.  By obeying His calling on our life, we find great joy and peace, and He makes us a blessing to others. 

Most of us first learn (or are in the process of learning) what we’re not called to.  We assume because we enjoy doing something, or because we have a certain gift or talent, that God must want us to use it.  But again, we must submit to the Potter.  He may call us to use the gift, but perhaps not in the way we wanted.  Or maybe He’s working on our heart, and the timing is for a later opportunity.

Simon the magician (Acts 8:9-24) had great gifts- so great that he was called “the power of God.”  And this was before he believed and was baptized!  But he was so amazed and enamored by the power of the Holy Spirit that he sought to buy it from the apostles.  Peter rebuked him for thinking he could obtain it with money, and said his heart was not right before God.  He needed to repent. 

The calling of God is not something we can manufacture or choose for ourselves.  And it is often opposite of what the world would expect (1 Cor. 1:25-27).  It is all part of the mystery of God and His choosing.


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