Rid yourself of selfish ambition

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From “Growing in the character of a disciple”: Chapter 7 – Some more of the ways in which we must become faithful

On a similar theme, set out to rid yourself of all selfish or improper ambition. If you don’t, then you will always be vulnerable to being tempted to do wrong in order to protect your current position or your promotion prospects. The demons assigned to you will see that selfish ambition in you and they will make full use of it to trip you up. So close off that opening. Then they can’t make use of it any longer.

By contrast, godly ambition is fine. You should always aim to do your best, and it is perfectly alright to seek promotion. There is nothing wrong with any of that. However it becomes wrong where your ambition is elevated to the place where it takes priority over your duties to God and to other people, or where your ambitions for yourself in this life mean more to you than your ambitions for the next life. If any of those things are true of you, then your ambition has become a god or an idol.

You have no right to do wrong to others in order to protect, or further, your own career. It is much better for your career to be held back because you do right than for you to advance it by doing wrong. That may sound obvious, but it’s not what most people think, at least, not in my experience. Most people regularly operate in the flesh, even within churches. In particular, most people would act wrongly, without even hesitating, whenever they see their career as being at stake. That is wrong, and you have to convince yourself of the truth of that, so that you are ready, when the temptation comes, to stand firm.

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