Are Your Ambitions for God’s Glory or Your Own?

Biblical Authority Devotional: The Spirit vs. the Flesh, Part 10

by Jeremy Ham on August 1, 2011

Jeremy Ham, AiG–U.S., instructs readers to pay careful attention to their motivations for the things they do.

Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are . . .  selfish ambitions (Galatians 5:19–20)

Today’s big question: are your ambitions for God’s glory or your own?

We all have desires for various personal achievements. For example, one ambition that I have is to be able to effectively teach God’s Word. The Lord has graciously allowed me to teach at a local church, and I also have the privilege of contributing to the content of Answers in Genesis resources. I am continuing to learn about many things. I thank God for giving me the passion to teach His Word and for giving me opportunities to fulfill this desire. However, one important question many have asked, including me, is “How will we know if our ambitions are selfish or not?”

The key item to consider is whether your ambitions are motivated by exalting God or self. If you are a Christian, then the Lord bought you “at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:20). We should glorify God in all things, including our ambitions. Now that we are God’s people, we serve Him, and our ambitions should be based on following the Holy Spirit’s leading for our life.

As members of the body of Christ who serve God, we should be like-minded—loving God and loving others. So rather than striving for selfish ambitions that hurt fellow believers, we should follow the selfless example of Christ by putting others above ourselves. Paul wrote the following words to the believers in Philippi:

Fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. (Philippians 2:2–4)

Of course, we should regularly consider whether our own desires and passions are of the Spirit and not our flesh. We must also look out for the interests of others. In everything, we need to make sure we are following God-given ambitions. He will direct us as we prayerfully seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance. As Solomon told his son, “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:6). It may not always be easy, but if we rely on God, He will see us through.

Today’s big idea: our desires and passions should be of the Spirit and not our flesh.

What to pray: ask God to help you follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in your life.

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Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus on providing answers to questions about the Bible—particularly the book of Genesis—regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth.