Leaders, Beware of the trap of ambition:
This is what the world says to us all: Just one more…
As one who is pursuing the role and great responsibility of leadership it is important to conduct a size-up of ones self. What are our underlying motivations to become a leader?
To make a difference or to affirm ourself?
Is it power, Is it wealth, Is it recognition, Or Is it control?
One who is called to a position of leadership will never be able to quench the inner fire that burns within them. Nothing we will ever do, ever buy, consume or experience will bring us settled assurance.
Only God can bring us peace. Only through Jesus Christ can the void within our heart be filled and the scars of our past be healed. Yet with this knowledge freely given to us, we pursue the perishable.
Somewhere between childhood and adulthood we lose sight of heaven and only see the here and now.
Emotions, inner drive, a desire to make a profound impact in the world all can spur one forward to revolutionize the world around them.
Yet in the pursuit of excellence, what was lost?
What did we truly gain and at what expense?
What if we stood at the gates of heaven at birth and have spent our entire lives running away from it?
“Every calling involves sacrifice” writes Chuck Swindoll. The key is to understanding this is to know whose calling are we answering: God’s or our own?
Our own calling will be wrapped up neatly so it looks worthy of the sacrifices we will make but underneath it all lays the ugly truth:
We are doing this for ourselves and ourselves alone.
“Our gains are mostly external while our losses are internal. Since it is the quality of our religion that is affected by internal conditions it maybe that our gains are but losses spread over a wider field.” A.W. Tozer
“Our gains are but losses spread over a wider field.” Ponder that statement for a moment…
Our gains: Success, notoriety, wealth, accolades for a momentous achievement, status…
How shallow is the waters of our gains while “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!” (Romans 11:33)
Each and every man and woman who pursues excellence needs to be aware of this danger. For our focus to remain steadfast, our principles uncompromising, and our beliefs unshaken each one must constantly be about the business of taking a long look in the mirror throughout their journey.
We must ask ourselves:
Why are we doing this? For man or For God?
Have we changed during this process? (good/bad)
Are we becoming closer to the world and a mere acquaintance to our spouse and children?
Have we grown closer to God or the more we achieve the more we shy away from Him?
What is the cost of all of this?
Are we willing to pay it?
After conducting our assessment, we must repeat the following:
“The only way to recoup our spiritual losses is to go back to the cause of them and make such corrections as the truth warrants.” A.W. Tozer
Going back to the cause of our spiritual losses and correcting them isn’t done in arrogance; It is done out of a ‘broken and contrite heart’ because we have ‘felt the inner weight of self accusation and it is more than we can bear” (A.W. Tozer)
When we pursue wisdom and knowledge, no matter how pure our first intentions may be, we must understand how dangerous it is. “It is like a hot drink, that you may able to sip it but handle it any other way it would scald you.” (Ravi Zacharias)
To remain humble is to remember that our strong desire to discover knowledge is the mark of wisdom not a guarantee that we cannot be corrupted by it.
The devil fell from Heaven because he too fell victim to this corruption. He was the protector of the glory of God and in his foolish ambition he thought he could take the glory of God for his own. And in trying to do so, he fell from heaven along with 1/3rd of the angels.
Let us learn from this and as we pursue knowledge and wisdom, let us not be tempted, and in our foolish pride be thrown down to the depths while harming those around us by our fall.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding”(Proverbs 9:10)
Notice that the fear of the Lord is the beginning wisdom not the pinnacle of it and the knowledge of the Holy one is understanding. Wisdom is the gift of Godly guidance; understanding is the application of this gift. As believers in Christ, we must strive to stay focused on the ‘knowledge of the Holy’ and not let the world’s wisdom drive us astray.
Each and every individual will climb their own mountains of adversity in search of what drives them. They will strive, fall, climb again, and finally reach the top only to find another mountain even greater than the last. Understanding that God is our source, God is our strength, and it is through God that we are made wise; this will give us the knowledge that doesn’t disappoint. His wisdom will not lead us astray and will never leave us orphaned.
Those who are climbing the ladders of success should stop and conduct an honest assessment to understand their motivations.
For if our motivations aren’t pure, our methods may be unethical, and our ‘gains may be but losses spread over a wider field’.(A.W. Tozer)
As we climb these ladders set before us in life we must strive to remain humble, to stay teachable, and to never compromise our principles or beliefs for the sake of an outcome. We must stop and check the locks to ensure we are climbing with certainty.
We must not prostitute ourselves on the altar of success only to find the goal leaves us unfulfilled and we move on to the next worldly ambition.
If it is our hearts desire to make a difference; to embrace the calling of the Holy Spirit then we should do so.
We can stay focused on the goal by keeping our eyes on Christ through disciplined study, fervent prayer, and stay in the deep waters of accountable individuals. Otherwise, we may find ourselves falling into the world’s trap of never enough.
His grace is enough and He will give us the desires of our heart. For He made our heart; who knows us better?
Let us seek to be people after God’s heart and be not dependent upon the praise of man.
Andy J. Starnes
Bringing Back Brotherhood Ministries