Joseph Iregbu

Purpose Guy

Can We Stop Demonising Ambition?

I grew up with lots of ambitions. First, I wanted to be a medical doctor. Then a pilot. Play professional basketball. Build libraries and provide free education to under-represented children from low-income communities.

Today, I’m not a medical doctor. I haven’t flown an aircraft. I didn’t make it to the NBA. And I have not built a library yet. But I have excelled in many things and (I hope) have impacted some lives.

Yes, I am unapologetically ambitious. But unfortunately, I also grew up in Christian circles where ambition is almost generally treated as a curse word when it comes to serving God.

Stop demonising ambition

Ambition has a broad meaning. However, let’s focus on the fact that we are talking about having a strong determination to achieve a pre-defined goal.

So call it drive, determination, enterprise, yearning or aspiration. But I love this one; a sense of purpose.

No one who is purposeful lacks ambition. You have to be driven beyond the ordinary to make your life count.

We need to stop demonising ambition in Christian circles and rather teach the power of life priorities — Matthew 6:33 // Can We Stop Demonising Ambition? Share on X

It wears me out when some make ambitious Christ-followers generally feel less holy and less committed to Christ simply because their immediate life goals appear different from the collective.

While Paul was incarcerated, he never begrudged the men and women who laboured with him in the gospel in different ways for not sharing a prison cell with him.

Everyone is called differently and what is critical is that we all fulfil God’s purpose and calling on our lives. I don’t want to perpetually keep folks without a clear vision for their lives in my inner circle. Do you?

Abraham was ambitious in his obedience to God (Genesis 22:1-3). Peter was ambitious about his commitment to Christ (Matthew 26:34-36). Paul was super ambitious about the gospel (Romans 15:18-20). It was ambition that moved Hannah to pray audacious prayers until she got Samuel (1 Samuel 1:9-28).

It was an act of audacious love on God’s part to freely give His only begotten Son so that many will be reconciled to Him.

So, let’s stop demonising ambition and rather focus on something else…

Christ must be ALL in all

Can ambition become sinful and a snare to you? Absolutely! But it doesn’t have to be. No doubt some ambitions are clearly not Christ-centred and God-honouring.

What some of us lack is the ability and wisdom to order our lives in the right priorities. When we misplace our focus, become self-absorbed and self-centred, we lose balance and fall into diverse temptations and errors.

Having big ambitions is not the problem, but having the wrong focus and priority is.

I believe it was it was Pastor Bill Wilson who said:

“True ambition is not what we thought it was. True ambition is the profound desire to live usefully and walk humbly under the grace of God.”

Our life ambition must always be viewed from eternal perspective. We are individually called differently but ultimately, we are called to love, honour and glorify God.

In the marketplace (business and corporate careers), home, church, local communities or wherever we find ourselves, our ambition must ultimately be to the praise of Christ.

And our emphasis should be no different. Rather than demonise ambition, our emphasis must be this:

In all your pursuit, Christ must be ALL in all.

Let’s be driven to make our lives count for Christ. My prayer is that we become saturated with BIG, glorious, holy and Christ-centred ambitions in life.

Check out my latest podcast EP41: Greatness Series – Never Without Personal Sacrifice on Anchor, Spotify, Apple Podcast and everywhere you get your podcast.

Photo by Jose Aragones on Unsplash.

About Joseph Iregbu

From a homeless, near-school-dropout to living a story worth telling. Purpose is my passion. What's your story?

2 Replies

  1. Thank you Sir for this!

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