Debunked - Is ambition a dirty word? | City Bible Forum

Debunked - Is ambition a dirty word?

At Headstart we are debunking myths. First up: Ambition is a dirty word. Here is a summary of the evening.

A self confessed lover of food and birds (and sometimes those two crossover - KFC anyone?), Vivian returns to kicks off Headstart 2017 with a punchy, surprising match summary of our first talk in our Debunked series - Myth #1: Ambition is a dirty word.

The night in a tweet: Achievement unlocked: Ambition conquered. Bible awesome

Kickstarting term one of Headstart with a hangout sess with young workers from all around the city, sharing drinks and nibblies, and hearing what the Bible says about ambition = awesome!

What stuck:

Ambition itself is not a bad thing. It is merely a strong desire to do or achieve something. In fact, Paul had the bravado to be ambitious. He was ambitious for the gospel to be preached where Christ was unknown (Romans 15:20). Surprising, eh?

But when we think about ambition, especially in the work context, many of us have witnessed that it is something bad that can cause people to become selfish, discontent, unloving, and obsessed with achieving their goal by doing whatever it takes.

So how can we have a desire like Paul? What allows his desire to be healthy and the one we see at work, unhealthy? How does one guard ourselves against the dirty desire? How do we have a healthy desire ... Can we guard ourselves from becoming like this?


The Bible gives us 2 guard rails to keep us on track:

If our goal is significance and security through what we achieve, then we need to seriously re-evaluate our goal. Like other desires - hunger and thirst - healthy ambition is tied to it's goal ("the something" that we are trying to achieve). Inevitably, we will compromise and achieve at the expense of all else. But if our goal is God and finding our significance and security in him, then we have the freedom to be generous with our time/money/love to serve others, knowing that what we have is given to us freely by God and not earned by our own merits. Even when we don't achieve our goals, we are free to not complain and see his God-given provision.

But, the Bible doesn't stop there. It also gives us another guardrail. We can aim for more. Our strong desire to achieve can be replaced by a stronger desire to love - to love our neighbour and to love God.

The funny:

I was relieved to find out that Mark has the same sort of dilemmas that I constantly face: what should I eat for lunch today? Should I eat something that is healthy and good for me? Or should I eat what I crave but has little nutritional benefit (Burger Project, I’m looking at you!)?

What I left thinking about:

I may not be a particularly ambitious person with regards to work but I can and should be ambitious to love my neighbour as I seek and honour Christ with my life and all that I have.