The Good, The Bad & The Ugly: Ambition

Are you driven? Not as in are you driven around by your friend who has her own car. But is there something in your life that you’re driven to achieve? For most of us, great opportunities for advancement and growth rarely fall into our lap. In order to climb the ranks in business or achieve our personal goals we have to show ambition. We have to get out of our comfort zone and go after what we want.

We’ve talked a lot this week about pursuing success and making things happen. Today I want to look at the various sides of ambition so we don’t walk away thinking that wanting something and working hard for it are wrong.

Ambition, i.e. the drive to achieve something of value to us, is a good thing. As long as what we’re pursuing is the right “thing”.

How do we know what we should be pursuing? Take a look at yesterday’s blog Make It Happen. We should never shy away from being ambitious. But we should ask ourselves if what we’re pursuing: is in line with God’s Word, brings glory to Him, and is confirmed by God as we bring it to Him in prayer over time.

Ambition that honors God and allows us to join in His work is The Good of ambition.

Unfortunately, a lot of people lack ambition. Laziness, depression, and past failures can zap any desire we might otherwise have to try to achieve something new. Sometimes we may be complacent because it’s easier to stick with status quo rather than show some initiative. Sometimes we may feel burdened by life and we can’t imagine taking on anything else, no matter what the potential reward. Sometimes we may be so beaten down by our experiences of the past that we’re afraid to put ourselves out there again.

Lack of ambition is The Bad of ambition. It prevents us from expanding our horizons. And our relationship with God can stagnate because we’re not trusting Him to lead us forward and help us grow.

The Ugly is the final side of ambition. The dark side.

Ambition goes awry when we start putting ourselves above other people. We view our desires as more important than other people. We become conceited. We become self-focused and self-centered. We climb over others to get where we want to be. We’re on a mission, and nothing or no one will get in our way.

Ambition also goes awry when we start pursuing fame, power or wealth instead of God.

We don’t like to think of ourselves as displaying The Ugly of ambition. But most of us have. Many of us still do. Most of us will always struggle with it to some degree. In order to see The Ugly, it takes a willingness to humbly look at our life and what drives us. And if we don’t assess our attitudes or actions, we can expect the crisis that will one day come because of our pursuits.

Today let’s take our eyes off the prize we’re trying to attain, and instead let’s put our focus on Jesus. Let’s pray earnestly about what we’re striving for, why, how it fits into God’s plan for our life, and whether or not we’re climbing over others to get there.

If we begin to pursue God and let Him drive the process, any selfish desires or Ugly ambition will take a back seat.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3

May I pray?

God, most of us have grown up believing that ambition is good, and even expected for anyone who wants to do something important with their life. But sometimes the pressure is too much. And sometimes we go to the extreme of pursuing our dreams regardless of what it costs us or others. Lord, please help us to turn to You. Help us to honestly and humbly assess what we’re striving for to see how it lines up with Your Word. Amen.

Q4U: Does your life display the good, the bad or the downright ugly of ambition?

 

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