Q Zone: Where’s the Line?

ambitionIt’s true — the thorny ground is the ground where life’s “busyness” chokes out the seed’s fruitfulness (Matthew 13). Called the “cares of this life” by one Gospel writer, the “pleasures” of life by another, and the “deceitfulness of riches” by still another, the clear implication is that God’s kingdom won’t grow where there’s a crowd of other equal interests.

As I unpacked this third kind of ground briefly last Sunday, encouraging those there to watch their schedules, assess their commitments, and inspect their motives, an intriguing question was texted in: “Where’s the line between being driven in your goals and being obsessive to the point that the Word is choked out?”

The answer is found in a singular verse penned by Paul to the Philippians – “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit…” (Phil 2:2)

Notice what Paul didn’t say. He didn’t say ambition was wrong. He simply warned against selfish, conceited ambition. Yep, the kind that is rooted in a “whats-in-it-for-me” attitude.

Essentially, that’s the line. When you’re driven only for your own good and glory … when your goals are focused only on you … when the bullseye contains a big “I” in the middle … well, you’ve moved beyond biblical ambition to selfish ambition.  A life full of the weeds of selfish ambition will no doubt crowd out any kingdom seed that was thrown in the garden of your life.

My advice? Set goals. Work hard. Be ambitious. Zealous. Passionate. As you said, driven. But not for you and yours alone, but first for God’s glory and second for the good of those around you. In this way you actually fertilize the seed God planted because you have prioritized your life around what matters most — his kingdom.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *