If you take a look, you’ll see that many people in the Bible had all kinds of different ambitions. It’s not bad to have ambitions. On the contrary, following your ambition means you’re saying yes to “a pursuit aimed at a specific goal.”
Unfortunately, it’s often the case that people – even spiritual people – develop false motives, and then it’s no longer a positive pursuit to follow ambitions of this nature. For example, Jesus’s disciples chatted as they walked through the fields about who among them was the greatest. They were very ambitious; however, they were pursuing the dubious motive of egocentric self-realization. At that moment they bypassed the very purpose of their life without realizing it. And Jesus had to intervene.
It is good to strive for positive, spiritual, and noble goals. This kind of ambition should even be encouraged. What matters the most is the motive behind the ambition. The moment you strive to build your own kingdom or base your own spiritual growth on the levels of respect, influence, applause, profit, affirmation, praise, or the recognition you receive from others, you are on the wrong side of positive spiritual ambition, though you may not even have noticed it yourself.
This can be dangerous and it often becomes apparent to others before you notice it yourself! It can be quite embarrassing if that happens.
So, how can you strive for the right goals and live with positive and noble ambitions without falling into the trap of false motives?
Two things are essential:
First, regularly ask the Holy Spirit, who dwells within you, to check whether your goals and motives are right and pure. Ask Him to show you when something is out of balance.
Second, regularly treat yourself to a spiritual check-up with a mentor who knows you well and is able to fairly examine your life and ministry.
The Bible teaches us how great it is to be corrected by God and competent, spiritual believers when something in our lives has gotten off-balance. Such revelations can end up becoming great milestones in your spiritual walk.
God loves it when our hearts are motivated by the right ambitions, like the pursuit of His kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). When these are coupled with the right motives, it’s an unbeatable, awesome combination that will make you a powerful tool in the hands of the Holy Spirit.
My tip for you:
Stay submitted to spiritual authority, develop an obedient heart, strive for the character of Jesus (meekness and humility), and be committed to your local church. Allow spiritual check-ups in your life and keep evolving. Then, your ambitions, paired with the right motives, can make a huge difference.