Holding the Ambitious Heart in Check

Holding the Ambitious Heart in Check

Ambition ruined Satan forever and Adam and Eve for a time. Thankfully, when Jesus was tempted with the world, he chose the Father’s cross over Satan’s crown. And then, in reward for his faithful obedience, God raised him up, exalted him, and placed him on his throne. May God help us to be like Christ and keep our ambitious hearts in check.

Ambitious to be like God, Adam and Eve partook of forbidden fruit (Gen 3:1–7). Ambitious to be like God, Satan asked Jesus to worship him (Matt 4:9). Ambitious to be like God, man denies his God and seeks abomination instead (Ps 14:1–3). Even as Christians, unholy ambition remains latent inside and lurks deep within our hearts.

Ambition is not always evil. A man who applies himself well and excels in his skills will stand among kings as his reward (Prov 22:29). Ezra was skillful in his work and stood before the king while enjoying the favorable hand of the Lord (Ezra 7:6). Good ambition seeks the glory of God in every way (cf. Rom 11:361 Cor 15:28).

But, like Adam, Eve, and Satan mentioned above, ambition can be evil, which is why we must hold our ambitious hearts in check.

Let Others Speak Your Praises

The book of Proverbs repeatedly reminds us not to seek our own glory in a self-serving way. We should not promote ourselves before others, lest we find our self-evaluation wrong and receive a demotion instead. The king will call us to himself if we are truly worthy (Prov 25:6–7). Our praise should come from others and not ourselves (Prov 27:2). As Jesus said, we should sit at the end of the table and wait for him to honor us as he desires (Luke 14:7–11; cf. Matt 20:20–28).

Ambition Fulfilled Might Rob You of Personal Joy

I remember a story of a celebrity killing himself because he achieved all the fame in the world and still found himself empty inside. Your greatest ambition fulfilled will still fall short of the joy of heaven.

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