Ambition, The Faith Killer
If we could get to this place where our own ambition and desire to get to the top was replaced with a desire to see God move and do it his way we would be surprised by how radically our lives would be changed.
Ambition is the driving force behind the generation that I live in. In any industry that you might work in, there must be a driving factor that helps you be successful. Without this, you are sure to be passed up by a coworker who is willing to work just a little bit harder. We could go through history and research some of the more successful people. One common denominator is that we would find they would have a driving factor.
When I think of ambitious, successful people I think of Thomas Edison who is known as the creator of the electric light bulb. The man held 1,093 patents in the US as well as many in other countries. Supposedly, Edison had 1,000 “unsuccessful attempts” on the light bulb before he was ever successful. It took many long nights filled with ambition, or a desire to be successful before he finally did find that success. Edison’s ambition ran deep; once he worked for 84 hours straight. He was known to not sleep often, rather he claimed the people will overdo what they like or enjoy by 100% – sleeping is no different. Through it all, by working 15 to 20 hours a day he was able to turn his ambition into success and has gone down in history as one of the greatest American inventors.
Though Edison was one of the greatest know inventors in American History, there is one that lived in his shadow, Nikola Tesla. For a time, Tesla worked with Edison and, though he doesn’t have the mass amount of patents as Edison, he was a pioneer of many of the modern conveniences that we have today. Some things that he had a hand in developing is wireless technology, alternating current (A/C), Hydroelectric Power Plant and more. His legacy is carried on when a group of engineers created a company in 2003, Tesla Motors. Interestingly, Tesla had a sleep schedule like Edison – he was know to have slept around 2 hours a day with naps throughout.
Of course, there are many more inventors that can be found throughout history who had a high level ambition. For me, going without sleep equals ambition. We could look at CEO’s of companies, successful sports players, small business owners or startup companies, and more. These people who make a life commitment to something and, literally, will not sleep until they find success. Their ambition is what drives them. Then, once they reach success, they set their sights or goal on something else that will help drive them to yet another level of success.
Throughout the Bible we can find many ambitious people as well. One that comes to mind is Jacob. Jacob had a deep desire for success. He always desired to be at a higher place that he was. It started with wanting the birthright, Jacob was able to receive it for a simple bowl of soup. Jacob was able to build on that and was able to take the blessing that Esau was to receive. There were setbacks in his life, but his ambition would lead him on. Eventually, he had to come to a realization that ambition was a killer and that what he had to do was trust in God. Without coming to this realization, he would have not been able to achieve the success that God had for him and position the children of Israel to be able to, eventually, escape Egypt and enter into the promised land.
We could go on and talk about others who had to come to this realization, but I think it is important to consider how this affects our life. As ambitious as we are, we cannot depend on our own abilities to be successful in the kingdom of God. Without God we are nothing. We must come to a place where we learn to trust in God, completely.
The people that we have mentioned relied on their own abilities to find success. Once, when Tesla was out of money he would go around to different motels and stay for awhile and then go to the next leaving unpaid bills. He was relying on his abilities, stealing, to provide for his needs.
When we learn to trust in God, we find that He has different ways.
We can look at the women with the issue of blood who pushed through the crowd, touched the hem of Jesus’ garment and was instantly healed. We can look at the time when the disciples needed money for taxes and Jesus told them to go fishing. In only God-like fashion, there was a coin in the fish’s mouth which provided for the tax bill. We can look at Blind Bartimaeus who never had the opportunity to see in his life until Jesus passed by and he was instantly healed. On and on we could go. But in every instance we would find people who had stopped trusting on their own abilities and started trusting in God.
If we could get to this place where our own ambition and desire to get to the top was replaced with a desire to see God move and do it his way we would be surprised by how radically our lives would be changed. Of course, God has given us ambition and abilities but he wants us to learn to let Him use them through us.
In conclusion, we live in generation where we are surrounded by conveniences that allow us to depend on our abilities in a greater manner than any generation before. Even though we are surrounded by these modern conveniences we have to learn to trust in something greater if we are ever going to truly find success in our life. We have to learn to trust in God if we are truly going to reach the potential that God has for us in his plan for our life.
Jonathan Starr is a young minister at Apostolic Faith Church. With his wife, Taneil, they help in various places of the church. Their biggest desire is to see the kingdom of God grow and being apart of that in any way possible.