Ambition is a tricky thing. It can be the “divine discontent” that drives us to accomplish great things for God, or it can be… well, we’ve all seen what it can be. And as a result, many of us don’t pursue our ambitions at all, as if they’re inherently evil. But as R.T. Kendall points out over and over throughout this book, it’s not the ambition that’s good or bad, but the source and the goal of that ambition—both of Whom should be the same.
R.T. Kendall. Finding Your Heart’s Desire: Ambition, Motivation & True Success. 192p., $14.99, Chosen Books.
“There is nothing more promising for the Kingdom of God than godly ambition, and yet there is nothing worse and more threatenting to the Church than unsanctified motivation,” Kendall says. Thus we must choose wisely—and before anything else, choose God. As he says a handful of pages later, “I began a journey that has taken me to this day—seeking the honor that comes from God only—with all the ambition I can muster. I am still in pursuit of that glory.” At its best, this book will inspire you to do the same.
My favorite two chapters of the book would be “The Fruit of the Spirit,” which dwells largely on the matter of forgiveness (which makes for a great litmus test of our own ambition: How willing are we to ask not only for God’s forgiveness but God’s blessing on others who’ve hurt us? Are we that willing to want what God wants?); and “Too Much Ambition?” in which R.T. shares some of his own story, especially concerning his relaionship with his father who pushed him into so much ambition both good and bad. The latter chapter closes with seven principles for gauging the condition of our own ambitions, and serves as a good practical measure for us.
In between we gets plenty of examples, both biblical and personal, to remind us of both the potential plusses and minuses of our ambition. And it comes down to this:
We have seen that ambition is not necessarily a bad thing. But it tends to be more bad than good when described in the Bible. When we come to understnad this, we should learn to see ambition as an amber light—use caution: Slow down and be prepared to stop. Ambition can achieve wonderful things; it can accomplish the most evil things.
For those on either end of the spectrum, Finding Your Heart’s Desire will help you to better see ambition through God’s eyes, and to adjust accordingly.