AUTHOR: R. T. Kendall
PUBLISHER: Minneapolis, MN: Chosen Books, 2013, (192 pages).
Is it wrong to have ambitions? Can Christians seek success in this world? What does the Bible say about ambition? What is the purpose of ambitions? These questions and more are ably dealt with by renowned Bible teacher, RT Kendall. The author's key thesis is that ambition is not a bad desire but is something that God can use to motivate us toward fulfillment of our calling in life. His book revolves around Martin Luther's words: "God uses sex to drive a man to marriage, ambition to drive a man to service, fear to drive a man to faith." In laying out his arguments for holy ambition, he points out seven purposes in this book:
- Everyone can be motivated to enjoy God's joy and praise regardless of our results;
- That we be self-aware about our motives;
- That we measure ourselves objectively, including knowing why we do what we do;
- That we learn to think well;
- That we learn patience with others;
- That we channel our ambitions toward pleasing God;
- That we get a vision of God's inheritance for us in the joy of God.
Kendall makes a crucial distinction between worldly competition like the Olympics and heavenly ambition. The former has only one winner while in the latter, everyone can win. Godly ambition is one that pursues God's will, to live with integrity, to work toward holiness, to finish well, to serve, and to be fruitful. For those who feel meek and even discouraged, Kendall gently shows how God can come to our level and begin his work right there. Just like Abraham's faith that begins slowly, proceeds surely, and matures finally. We can also learn from Moses's whose journey of faith undergoes great suffering amid the great anointing God has given him.
Kendall also goes to the roots of unholy ambition and points out sin and how the devil tries to appeal to human pride to stumble them. He also tries to link ambition with desiring the greater spiritual gifts, the fruit of the Spirit, and the need to sanctify any forms of motivation. He closes with an application on money and ambition, success and finishing well. The take home for the whole book is to see ambition as a holy desire seeking after one thing: God's approving words: "Well done! Good and faithful servant."
Simple, fresh, and heartwarming, Kendall manages to help differentiate the different perspectives of ambition, saying that it is something everyone can win and can achieve. There is no shame in seeking after God's will. There is no need to be guilty about succeeding or doing all we can to win. The main thing is to make sure that it is in line with God's will, that it is done with integrity, that it is demonstrated in love for God and neighbour, that it seeks the ultimate prize: God's approval. If you are confused or need clarification about ambition and the question of whether Christians should or should not seek after success while on earth, this book is a fresh breeze that blows away the smog of confusion.
Rating: 4 stars of 5.
This book is provided to me courtesy of Chosen Books and Graf-Martin Communications in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.