Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Fond Ambitions?

Comedienne Lilly Tomlin once said: "All my life I always wanted to be somebody.  Now I realize I should have been more specific."

Ambition is generally viewed as a good thing.  After all, only deadbeats have no ambition.  But when our ambition is directed toward attaining what this sinful, fallen world thinks is valuable, we are headed for spiritual shipwreck.

I know whenever my desires turn inward, when I long for praise and recognition, perhaps even worldly riches.  I know because God reminds me of a verse from a hymn by one of the godliest pastors who ever graced this earth -- Henry F. Lyte  The hymn is "Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken," and the last part of verse one, the part God brings to my mind, goes like this:

"Perish every fond ambition,
All I've sought, and hoped, and known;
Yet how rich is my condition,
God and heaven are still my own!"

I have to ask myself often: Who are you seeking to please?  Jesus said that the first and great commandment is, "You shall love the Lord your God will all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength." (Mark 12:30)  In that blessed relationship alone we find peace and joy and contentment. 

J. I. Packer tells of a Christian who understood that our relationship with God is everything: "I walked in the sunshine," he recalls, "with a scholar who had effectively forfeited his prospect of academic advancement by clashing with church dignitaries over the gospel of grace.  'But it doesn't matter,' he said at length, 'for I've known God and they haven't.'" (Knowing God, p. 20)

Do you want to be somebody?  Then be somebody who delights in God.  God will work "all things together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)

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