It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. Philippians 1:15-17. (EHV).
Ambition is a blessed curse.
I’m a liberty guy. I think American liberty is one of the most precious things on earth. It saddens me to know that so many of my fellow Americans are grossly ignorant of the fact that our freedom is a gift from God. That it is He, not some government, that gives us our rights simply because He loves us. It saddens me to know that so many people would willingly trade our true freedoms for false security. And it saddens me to know that so few of today’s generation don’t know what an amazing, blessed, unique and wonderful country America is because they haven’t been taught our splendid history.
But you know what’s even sadder? What’s sadder is knowing that a critical key to American exceptionalism is how we value ambition. One huge key to our success as Americans is our notion of independence and self-reliance, of how hard work can launch an American to levels of success and prosperity that most people on the planet can’t even dream. That can be a wonderful thing but embedded in it is unchecked ambition. And that ambition can be a double-edged sword. It can be the healthy, natural outcome of a dream for good more. Or it can be a lethal tool of avarice.
It really is a blessed curse.
Ambition that isn’t centered in the teachings of Christ is avarice. It is self-focused and eventually destructive. Yes, it may lead to temporal success and reward, but those things aren’t eternal or lasting. It stirs up trouble for others like it did for Paul while he was imprisoned. Selfish ambition undoes the good things others may be doing and yanks the focus of life away from Jesus. While our boldness in faith can be a great tool for the Holy Spirit to use in His work, that boldness when founded in selfish ambition can also be a tool for the evil one.
That plays out even in America, and it’s why we need to always be vigilant that our pursuit of our American dreams doesn’t ace out the pursuits of other good people as they pursue their own dreams. I love our freedoms to say, be, and do whatever we like, but freedom isn’t freedom if it isn’t focused on Jesus. Only through Him can we truly secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.
For further reading: Philippians 1:18
Lord Jesus, You and You alone are the basis of our freedom. Thank You, praise to You for this. Teach me to live out this blessing of freedom today.