Thursday, January 15, 2009

Biblical Ambition & Contentment: Not An Oxymoron

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:11-13 ESV)

. . . from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ; and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else's foundation. (Romans 15:19-20 ESV)

The crucible is for silver, the furnace for gold, and a man is tested by his praise. (Proverbs 27:21 ESV)

Pastor Dave Harvey, guest speaker at Grace Church Frisco, gave two wonderful! messages: Don't Waste Your Ambition (John 12:27-43), reminding us that we chase after what we love and pursue what we value, and Biblical ambitions should lead us to explore new paths and new opportunities to glorify God; and Quest for Contentment (Philippians 4:11-13), and that God teaches us that we are to be content in Him.

Some great quotes Dave brought us are:

Ambition
"The old humility was a spur that prevented a man from stopping; not a nail in his boot that prevented him from going on. For the old humility made a man doubtful about his efforts, which might make him work harder. But the new humility makes a man doubtful about his aims, which will make him stop working altogether." (GK Chesterton. Orthodoxy, NuVision Publ. 2007, pg. 26)

"Ambition that centers on the glory of God and welfare of the church is a mighty force for good." (J. Oswald Sanders. Spiritual Leadership: Principles of Excellence for Every Believer, Moody Publ. 2007)

Contentment
"If you have not what you desire, you have more than you deserve." (Thomas Watson)

"The Christian more often disgraces his profession in prosperity than when he is being abased." (Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening, Morning, Feb. 10)

"The world's idea that everyone, from childhood up, should be able at all times to succeed in measurable ways, and that it is a great disgrace not to, hangs over the Christian community like a pall of acrid smoke." (J.I. Packer. A Passion for Faithfulness: Wisdom From the Book of Nehemiah, Crossway Books 2000, pg. 206)

"The apostle's words ('through him' [Phil 4:13]) are better translated 'in him.'" (Sinclair Ferguson)

"Let us compare our condition with others and this will make us content. We look at those who are above us; let us look at those who are below us." (Thomas Watson, The Art of Divine Contentment, Reformation Heritage Books 2001)

See also

Jeremiah Burroughs' classic, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment (Banner Of Truth 1998).

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