A Theology of Ambition: Concluding Synthesis

A Theology of Ambition: Concluding Synthesis December 26, 2007

We conclude our very brief theology of ambition with a concluding synthesis of the material laid out so far. How, then, should we understand ambition from the texts considered?

There’s a great deal to say here. We can start by pointing out the biblical ambition is never to be understood as using God to get what one wants in a worldly or secular sense. In the texts I’ve examined, biblical ambition emerges as an exercise in getting God maximal glory through the expansion of one’s capacities. Spiritual boldness, then, should not be understood as praying for wealth, or praying for power, or praying for fame for the sake of these things. One is to be ambitious for explicitly spiritual ends. We saw this in numerous examples. Nehemiah’s plan was so bold as to be almost audacious in its nature, but Nehemiah was not punished for his verve, he was richly rewarded. We saw the same process work itself out in the lives of Solomon and Jabez. These men, however, did not merely make request of God, they made request of God for explicitly spiritual ends.

Biblical ambition, then, should be gospel-focused. We should ask God for things and undertake work that furthers the work of the kingdom and the advancement of the gospel. Living in the era of the new covenant, we are to work to take spiritual dominion of the earth. This is our central motivation in life, not any other motive. Biblical ambition is assertive and aggressive in attempting to bring this present darkness under a reign of light. You and I, then, should pray toward this end. We should ask God to maximize our abilities and to sharpen our skills and expand our influence in order that the gospel would go forth, men would be saved, and God would be glorified. It is right–no, it is imperative–that we be ambitious for the kingdom, and put all our skills, abilities and proclivities to use for the good of God’s name.

Spiritual boldness will involve our own personal lives, and we should not shy away from this. We should ask God to make us better Christians, holier people, more capable believers in order that we would be fully consecrated and put to use in kingdom work. We should ask God that the Spirit would do mighty things in us and embolden us and change us and shape us for the unique endeavors that God would have us to do. Businessmen should seek the betterment of their companies in order to glorify God in their work and to contribute to gospel endeavors. Teachers should seek to be the best teachers that they can be, in order that God would give them more influence with their unsaved peers. Homemakers should pray that they would perform their tasks with excellence, in order to glorify God and to be available for volunteer work and church work and mentoring of young women. We could go on and on, but I hope that you get a glimpse of how a spiritually ambitious local church can change itself and its community for the glory of God. Indeed, when a pastor models a life of godly ambition, and teaches his people to live boldly for the Lord, the congregation is set up to, like the apostles, take their own world by storm. Men will be better laborers and leaders of the home, women will follow the Proverbs 31 woman in taking dominion over their sphere, young people will be ambitious to evangelize the lost and take on a sin-crushed world. A theology of ambition, then, is no mere exercise in t-crossing and i-dotting. It is an essential part of being a Christian in a world that will gladly welcome and accomodate lazy, passive, visionless Christianity, to the detriment and death of us all.

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