We live in a me-first culture. We want to be the best. Our flesh is hungry to worship itself, and that appetite is satisfied through a hardy diet of selfish ambition.
So we form our identity through our accomplishments. We work hard in our careers, our education, our lifestyles—and even our churches—to guarantee success.
Ambition is the desire for success. It requires determination and effort. Ambition drives our work ethic.
The desire to see something succeed is good, but sin taints our desires. Instead of desiring God’s success, we strive for our own. We want our names to be great. We want our works to be famous. We’re willing to settle for our name in lights when we could be offering The Light to others.
Selfish ambition is not new to our culture. Five hundred years before Christ, God sent the prophet Haggai to speak to his people about their sinful ambition. They were consumed with building lavish houses but were indifferent to God’s house lying in ruins after it was ransacked by the Babylonians.
We would be wise to heed Haggai’s message today. God wants his people to have a holy ambition. But how do we make sure our ambitions are holy and not selfish? In the words of Haggai, we must consider our ways.