Redeeming Ambition: My Greatest Struggle As A Young Pastor & 3 Questions I Ask Myself Everyday

No matter what life stage or context I am in…ambition is there. Whether I am playing a sport, working a side-hustle, or leading a church…ambition is there. Whether I sit in my room alone with my thoughts or I am brainstorming in a conference room with others…ambition is there. Whether I am spending a Saturday with my family at home or sitting in an office on Monday-Friday…ambition is there.

Dave Harvey describes ambition as chasing glory (Rescuing Ambition, 20). We all, to some extent, are chasing glory. This is because God has designed us this way and he commends the pursuit of glory (Romans 2:6-8). The question is whose glory are you chasing?

This question has rattled me as a young pastor because despite what may have an outward appearance of working for God’s glory, there are many days my motivation is more focused on making my name great. On my good days, I truly am striving to do great things for God, but on my bad days, I am doing great things for me under the name of God.

Early in ministry, I thought that I had an ambition problem and that I needed to suffocate this inner-drive. But over the last decade, I have come to realize that God loves my ambition…he hates my arrogance. My ambition is a gift from Him. The problem is that I have corrupted this gift by chasing my own glory, not His.

When this light bulb went off, my perspective and prayers changed. God doesn’t want to remove my ambition but redeem it. I don’t need to deny it but direct it.

Over the last decade, directing my ambition towards God and not myself has been an ongoing battle that I have to regularly ask for God’s forgiveness and help. Nearly every day, I ask myself one of the following three questions to assess if my ambition is selfish or Godly.

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