Over the past few days, I’ve been prepping for my Lab sessions at Team Church Conference (I hope you’re able to make it – we’re set to have a great week next week!). In doing so, I’ve been reading and studying Philippians…here’s something that’s been on my mind a lot the past few months…
Philippians 2:3 (NIV) – “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”
The words selfish ambition here come from the greek word eritheia, which means “a courting distinction, a desire to put one’s self forward, a partisan and fractious spirit.” In the Apostle Paul’s day, this word literally referred to an electioneer for office, who courted popular applause by trickery or “low arts.”
When you are serving Jesus, particularly in ministry, there’s always an innate desire to do something great for God. We want our lives to count and make a difference.
But my question for you, as you dream and think about your future, is this… WHY? Why do you want it? Why do you want greater influence, or a greater platform? Is it for yourself? Or is it for the right reasons of advancing the Kingdom of God?
And what are you willing to do to get it? Sometimes the answer to this question is a bit scary.
Let me take things one step further…
- When someone else gets a promotion or new opportunity, and you felt you deserved it, how do you feel?
- When the timing of your dreams seems delayed or denied, how do you react?
- When you see an opportunity for your own advancement, what do you do?
Selfish ambition is that dark, ugly place we are drawn into when we are more interested in seeing our own name advance, than we are the cause we are serving. It’s a temptation inside all of us, and one we must constantly guard against.
I’d like to remind you that God’s promotion is far better than anything we could even manufacture on our own. Jesus is building His church, and he is building your life as well. He knows what he’s doing. And the bottom line is, He’s got to get you prepared for what He already has prepared for you.
But never try to make it on your own. Don’t strive. You’ll build something far below your potential.