A friend of mine posed the question “what is a godly, Christian, ambitious woman?”. My answer:
“A woman, with Kingdom sized dreams even with mustard seed sized faith; who runs the race the Lord has laid. She endures the journey, even with a thorn in her side, as she pursues His Will; all the while giving the Glory to God.”
Ambition is not always talked about kindly, especially when it comes to women… and even more so in the church. However, there is a difference between “selfish ambition” and “godly ambition”.
What Does the Scripture Say:
In the Scriptures we learn of a business owner who makes goods and sells them to the merchants in the town. With the earnings from this business, a vineyard is purchased. As we read the description of this business owner, we learn that this is a person of very noble character, worthy of being praised, and valued more than rubies. We are reading about the Proverbs 31 Woman.
Ambition is not always bad, in fact in and of it’s self … what really is ambition but to get from one place to another. It is the heart that is really what determines the type of ambition.
Selfish Ambition in Rooted in Sin
Selfish ambition is all about me, what I can get, what I can achieve, and pretty much at any cost. Selfish ambition is rooted in sin. When my ambitions are motivated by pride, greed, jealousy, etc. then I know I am out of alignment with God’s will. I am doing this for myself and my own gains. Regardless of how successful I am in this pursuit, I will never get the full blessing and I will never find peace in what I have attained. In fact, most who have selfish ambition continue to push for more. Nothing is ever enough.
Selfish ambition is a usurping ambition, it takes what doesn’t belong to it (yet, or if ever). It relies on self. My achievements are done in my time, in my strength, in my way or the highway. Selfish ambition doesn’t care who gets hurt along the way, and sometimes causes pain intentionally. Selfish ambition puts my wants and desires above all else.
Godly Ambition is Rooted in My Father’s Business
Godly ambition is where our hearts are revealing the Fruit of the Spirit. What drives my ambitions is my Father’s business. The Proverbs 31 Woman wasn’t just selling her goods and buying a vineyard just so she could have more. No, this was a woman of character. She tended to her family and home, taking care of their needs. She was a woman who employed others to work for her, providing them income and possibly shelter and hot meals each day under her care. She was a good steward of the blessings the Lord gave her, and she opened her arms to the poor in spirit. She spoke with wisdom and reverence of the Lord.
Godly ambition is not usurping but life giving. It is not taking away from others, but giving more to the world. The Proverbs 31 Woman was a woman who was taking care of her Father’s business, she was a Kingdom worker. Her ambitions were not motivated by sin, but instead by God’s will.
How Do I Know the Difference?
If you are wondering if your ambitions are driven by “selfishness” or “godliness”, ask the following questions of yourself:
- Is any part of my dream or goal in direct conflict with the Scriptures?
- Does pursuing my dream or goal cause me to compromise myself, or cause my sister to stumble, in order to achieve that next step?
- Do I have trusted counsel to hold me accountable, and speak the Truth into my actions… even if it is hard to hear.
- Am I bathing my ambition in prayer, and do I have others praying for/with me to keep in God’s will as I pursue my calling?
- Do my ambitions produce good, lost lasting, beneficial fruit or is my fruit temporary and tainted with pride, greed, jealousy, etc.?
- Am I willing to walk away from this dream/goal should the Lord ask me to give it all up and follow Him on a new path?
How you answer these questions will reveal where your ambition has it’s foundation. At the root of a sinful heart, or at the base of a righteous cross.