Ambition#3. “The not so good kind.”

Ambition#3. “The not so good kind.”

Selfish ambition is the opposite of serving the needs of others.

Jesus leaves no room for guessing as to his divine perspective on where selfish ambition takes a man. He asks:
“What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” (Matthew 16:26).

Once the soul is lost, what can a man offer to buy it back…? And even if he had gained the whole world, it would be a valueless means of exchange anyway!

It is staggering to witness people selling their eternal souls for so little. The devil doesn’t even have to haggle for the bargain basement prices on offer.

It is a selfish ambition that drives the individual to trade truth for lies, respect for distrust, and integrity for corruption. At the heart of selfish ambition is envy and covetousness. James says, “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing” (James 3:16).

However, it is not as if selfish ambition is incurable. The Light of the Gospel can break-in. And where “there is disorder and every evil thing,” heavenly wisdom can prevail. This wisdom channels the energy of ambition away from self, and into shared goodness. James unfolds its wonders:
“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy” (James 3:17)

The only way to escape a life of selfish ambition is to make it your ambition to please the Lord.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 2:3-4).

John Staiger


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