Read Romans 15:14-33
Get Your Ambition On!
It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ is not
known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation.
Digging Deeper: It’s time to get your ambition on!
Ambition is something that in our day has an equally positive and negative connotation. In the negative sense, ambitious people are seen as willing to compromise, step on people, win at all costs, and be ruthlessly opportunistic to get what they want—which is usually “to the top.”
When we think of ambition in the positive sense, we prefer to speak of it in terms of passion. This sort of ambitious person is passionate; perhaps we might even call them driven. The Apostle Paul was all of those: driven, passionate, and ambitious in the best sense of the word.
Paul’s passionate drivenness was a holy ambition. It was holy because Paul clearly understood that his calling did not originate within himself, but it was from God: “…because of the grace God gave me to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles with the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God…” (Romans 15:15-16) Paul had been given a divine purpose, and come hell or high water, it was that very purpose that inexorably drove Paul toward its accomplishment.
Furthermore, Paul was ambitious for all the glory to go directly to God: “Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God. I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done…” (Romans 15:17-18) Paul did not want to achieve fame for himself, he wanted only to make God’s name famous among the Gentiles. That’s why Paul was dogged in his determination to take the gospel to Gentiles who had never heard, refusing to co-opt another preacher’s labor, but choosing rather to prophetically plant where no preacher had been. (Romans 15:20-22)
Finally, what elevated Paul’s ambition from merely human to altogether holy was the fact that it was authenticated by the power of the Holy Spirit through signs and wonders: “by the power of signs and miracles, through the power of the Spirit.” (Romans 15:19) God had called Paul to do what he was doing and Paul passionately did what he did for the glory of God alone, and that was the perfect recipe for the release of the divine power that enabled Paul to do what only God could do.
What has God done through you lately? You know, God wants to give you a holy ambition for great things, too—even supernatural things! That ambition is there, wrapped and waiting in heaven to be released to you. But God won’t waste one ounce of holy ambition on those who would use it for their own gain. However, for those who will open their hearts to being used by God and then doggedly dedicate themselves to be used for God’s glory alone, God will release supernatural supply to do through them what only God can do. And that, my friend, is the best kind of ambition; far better, more rewarding, and soul-satisfying than any human ambition—even the most altruistic ambition. It is holy ambition.
Do you have it? If not, it’s time to get your ambition on! So sanctify your motives, open up your heart, and get ready for God to use you to achieve some glory for him!
“Beware in your prayers, above everything else, of limiting God, not only by unbelief, but by fancying that you know what He can do. Expect unexpected things, above all that we ask or think. Each time, before you Intercede, be quiet first, and worship God in His glory. Think of what He can do, and how He delights to hear the prayers of His redeemed people. Think of your place and privilege in Christ, and expect great things!”
This Week’s Assignment:
Read: Romans 15:1-33
Memorize: Romans 15:1
“We who are strong ought to bear with the failings
of the weak and not to please ourselves.”
For Your Consideration: Are you suffering from the me-asles? It’s pretty hard to spot in yourself, so why don’t you ask someone who knows you and is willing to be lovingly truthful with you if you are infected. For certain, ask the Great Physician to examine you. Take the time to respond to these questions—they will help to give you a more accurate assessment of your condition:
Do you tend to think of yourself first, or do you gladly and proactively put the needs and interests of others ahead of your own?
Are you willing to put up with inconvenience and discomfort for the sake of Christ?
What do you need to do to increase your “servant quotient”?
Where might your attitude need adjusting?
How can you become more accountable for growth in this area of servant-heartedness?
Who are you serving in the name of Christ?
Is this motto, “God is first, others are second, and I am third” true of you?
It would certainly be easy to breeze through this examination and ignore the prescription that will cure this disease, but the certain outcome of such avoidance will be to live with a persistent case of the me-asles. So what does a daily dose of dethronement look like for you in a practical sense?