“This book is about grace. It’s about ambition for the glory of Another.” Dave Harvey
It’s implied even in the title that we’re looking at a book on ambition in need of rescue.
An immediate question follows: “if ambition is in trouble, is it worth rescuing?”
The answer suggests itself: “most likely, yes; otherwise, why bother writing such a book?”
These basic assumptions that potential readers can intuit by merely looking at the cover, even before opening the book, are confirmed plainly in its pages. So, let’s see, from Harvey’s perspective in this book, what is ambition, why save it, what from, and how.
Ambition is “the instinctual motivation to aspire to things, to make something happen, to have an impact, to count for something in life.” (p. 12) Ambition is part of what makes us human. We’re all “glory junkies”, and that by design: we were all “hardwired” by our Creator “for a glory orientation. It is inescapable. It’s in your genes.”(p. 22) We all have “an instinct for glory”, “glory grabs us”, it arouses energies in our souls, it stirs us. The Creator of all is glorious and interested in glory. Our attraction to glory, the capacity to perceive, prize and pursue glory is the essence of ambition, and is part of our essential humanness, a reflection of humankind being made “in the image and likeness of God”.
Harvey backs this claim citing scriptures and making the point that God reveals himself as a glorious God. Moreover, Jesus is called ”the Lord of glory” (1 Corinthians 2:18, James 2:1). Paul speaks eloquently of “the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6), and the writer of Hebrews says of him, “He is the radiance of the glory of God” (1:3). Needless to say more: glory is good.
Ambitious for Whose Glory?
“What is glory? The New Testament word—doxa—speaks of worth and dignity and weight. It’s most often applied to God but also includes man. Glory is about radiance and splendour. But glory isn’t just an attribute; it exists to be seen and recognised. It’s about reputation, esteem, standing, honour. At its core, glory is about inherent value that’s recognisable to others. It draws attention. Like a magnet, the value of glory attracts us. […]
A story of glory:
In a profound sense, this glorious God created the cosmos to display his glory, his worth, his value. To whom? To a special creature who could take it in, make some sense of it, and rejoice over the worth of his Creator—to us! That’s what the Bible means when it calls us to glorify God. We can’t make him something he already is—glorious. But we can recognise the glory that radiates from him, value it properly, and give God his due. […]
That’s why we were created.
The Westminster Divines understood this. “Man’s chief end,” they said, is tied to our glory instinct; it’s “to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” […] We’re all born glory chasers. Glory moments stir us. […] We’re awed by great comebacks, heroic efforts, sacrificial endurance, and extraordinary gifts. Glory arrests our attention.” (p. 21-22)
The Problem with Ambition
While arguing that ambition is part of what makes us human, Harvey also acknowledges that in the Christian church “ambition has mostly hovered outside respectability” (p. 14). Ambition is in trouble on many fronts: while in the church it has a bad reputation and needs to be rehabilitated, in our “hyper-individualist culture”, the “selfist” era of “big Me” (Brooks), ambition is in need of redemption. Its meaning was hijacked and abused: almost everyone conflates ambition with the quest for personal glory; and that is celebrated by our society as a good thing. It is rarely when people in our culture are ambitious for compelling visions that transcend the self, and that is mostly due to the spirit of our times; it is the condition of postmodernity. Any ambition beyond the goal of self-actualisation and personal excellence, is philosophically undermined by relativism: “When we deny truth, we suffocate ambition. Without truth as a foundation and ideas worth exploring, meandering replaces meaning, confusion trumps conviction, ambivalence swallows aspiration—nothing really matters all that much.” (p. 14)
I would say this is one of the paradoxes of a culture that places the individual at the centre and is driven by discontent, by the insatiability of desire for more greatness (read validation/approval): what really matters is the self, and the self only matters to itself (Be authentic! Stay true to yourself!), but greatness can only be achieved when witnessed (and validated) by other people. This validation is subjective, therefore fragile, and can only offer a fake sense of secure identity. The need for validation is universal, and strong enough not to care whether you’re part of a church or not. No need to paddle further on this: ambition is suspicious; when we perceive it in others, it is at least a bit suspect: both believers and non-believers expect it to go hand in hand with pride and corrupt motivations. When we think of ambition, we mostly associate it with selfish ambition.
The biblical explanation for the pervasiveness of selfish ambition goes like this:
Since we’re all “glory junkies” by design, provided we’re all sinners, following in Adam and Eve’s footsteps, we’re all tempted by self-confined glory, driven by a hunger of self-exaltation. Sin set us on a quest for glory apart from God: “Man became his own quest—a life expedition to move self to the centre of his motivations. […] We grow small trying to be great. […] The problem—the reason we’re all engaged in a quest for self-confined glory—is sin. […] When a hardwired desire for glory is infected with incurvatus in se, noble ambitions collapse.” (p. 37, 38) “The early church used a fascinating visual to describe the self-preoccupying nature of sin: incurvatus in se. It means we ‘curve in on ourselves.’” (p. 38)
The essence of sin is this: “We question God—his goodness, his wisdom, his power, his love. We turn from God to self. Remember incurvatus in se—the heart’s penchant for curving in on itself. And when self is the reference point for ambition, nothing good comes from it.” (p. 199)
The biblical word for “selfish ambition”—eritheia—portrays those who, like prostitutes or corrupt politicians, demean themselves for gain. (p. 39) James 3:13-18 identifies two kinds of wisdom: the genuine one, which brings humility and an evil “wisdom”, fuelling selfish ambition. “Wherever selfish ambition exists, there will be ‘disorder and every vile practice.’ Selfish ambition doesn’t travel alone. It has a partner in crime: jealousy. And the two of them inevitably pick up a couple more gangsters: disorder and vile practices. Selfish ambition guarantees negative consequences.” (p. 41)
We've got this from our ancestors: Adam and Eve. It's part of our fallen nature.
But there is hope.
The Gospel: Rescuing Ambition from the Pursuit of Misplaced Glory
Harvey succinctly presents the gist of the gospel-glory-ambition connection:
“Recognising this universal human tendency to perceive, prize, and pursue, a biblical view of life connects ambition with the God-implanted desire for glory. We were created to be ambitious for God’s glory and to take action in pursuit of it. God’s Word catches us glory chasers in pursuit of counterfeit splendour and sets us on a chase for the real thing.
The good news of the gospel is that we aren’t trapped by the tragedy of misplaced glory. While our ambitious impulses led us to vain pursuits, the Lord of glory has come to rescue our ambition. He has come to redeem us and recapture us for his glory. Where we haven’t perceived the difference between true and false glory, he opens our eyes to behold the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Where we haven’t prized that which has real value, he recalibrates our desires to fit his direction. And where we’ve pursued false glory, he turns us and sets our feet on the path of righteousness for his name’s sake—for his glory.” (p. 32)
Godly Ambition - Saved to Walk
“Walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called.” (Ephesians 4:1)
Harvey makes it clear, commenting on the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Ephesians that salvation is not the end of the journey, but the beginning of it:
“The One who saved us is now calling us to walk. It’s non-negotiable. Though snatched from spiritual death, we soon discover that the Christian life isn’t an arrival—it’s an adventure. We experience a rescue, then we’re pointed to a path; it’s a journey of faith. (p. 64) Paul is building the bridge between doctrine and duty, principle and practice, creed and command. That stunning salvation we’ve received? We’re to live in a way that is characterised by it. “Walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called.” Bridges aren’t for standing; they’re for getting somewhere […] we’re called to stoke up our ambitions and put on our walking shoes.” (p. 65)
To be rescued from something sets us on the path towards something. We are saved from something and we are saved for something. Martin Luther said that if we knew what we were saved from, we would die of fear, and if we knew what we were saved for, we would die of joy. Because of the tremendous grace given to us in Christ, not just by having our sins forgiven, but by being credited with Christ’s righteousness, due to his perfect active obedience, we have to “live up to our privileges.” (BB Warfield, cited on p. 65)
I’ll let Harvey explain what a perfect salvation we have in Jesus Christ:
“A holy and righteous God, by definition, cannot allow anything presented before him that isn’t holy and righteous. An absence of sin is impressive when compared to the gunk in my heart, but it’s not a ticket for an audience with God. We needed to be “made righteous” (Rom. 5:19). We need a record of perfect obedience to God’s law. It’s absolutely required. Only a declaration of righteousness would permanently secure God’s approval and pleasure. Enter the Perfect Man, Jesus Christ.” (p. 54)
Oftentimes we have our definitions backwards: usually righteousness is mostly defined as "absence of sin”, but in Christ we have a positive righteousness. Christ empowers us to do what he calls us to do. At the cross our status changed. With it came the one thing we most need to pursue a life of godly ambition: the approval of God. This approval should inspire ambition. (p. 56-59)
We are people saved from captivity and we have to learn to walk in freedom.
God’s glorious agenda for our ambition, like his glorious gospel, begins not with what we achieve but with who we are.
Walking in a manner worthy of our salvation means having new ambition. (p. 67)
Ambition gets us dreaming about what life might look like if we apply ourselves. It points us forward and invites us to aspire to something not yet seen. As followers of Jesus we can and should be ambitious, but we should never be concerned with our legacies. (p. 214)
Faithfulness and Fruitfulness
Harvey points to the importance of constant honest evaluation of our motives, methods, activities and results. Not just before setting sail, but during the journey as well. In everything we do, “we must cultivate ambitions to bear fruit”. (p. 115)
Rescuing ambition includes evaluating how our efforts are bearing fruit. We desperately need the eyes and words of others to help us form a humble self-perception. Humility looks for mirrors, so Harvey’s advice is to always seek input, ask for honest feedback and have “mirrors” in our lives. A good mirror asks unpopular questions about fruit in every season. It’s an important way of knowing whether we should continue or change what we’re doing. Mirrors help protect us from two dangerous extremes of ambition: building monuments to our abilities and burning out in wasted effort. (p. 110 , 115)
Especially in Christian ministry, Harvey sees a temptation to be excited about new initiatives, start many things and then feel compelled to keep these things running, often without asking questions:
“Christians are a funny lot. We’re ambitious to start things but hate to end them. Every initiative can seem right, good, and important — we’re sure God is behind it all. So we launch things as if great efforts in the name of God need no expiration dates. We assume that what’s effective in one season is effective for all time. Methods become monuments. We desperately need to see the goal. And we need the mirrors to help us see our fruit, our gifts, and our motives that are indispensable in the rescue of our ambitions.” (p. 113)
“Burning out” for God may sound radical, but it doesn’t position us to “bear much fruit”. (John 15:8) We should think about burning long, like the Olympic torch that must travel through many lands before it reaches the final destination.
Christians should be ambitious to run long and finish strong. (p. 115)
Recuperating a Biblical Sense of Ambition
“It’s my conviction that ambition shouldn’t be left to drown in its bad reputation,” says Dave Harvey. “Ambition needs to be set free and put back in play with biblical conviction and gospel clarity. I believe God wants ambition back in our understanding of godliness and spiritual health.” (p. 212, 215)
The author unapologetically presents a biblical anthropological perspective, and ambition is at the core of what makes us human: “I’m not rooting this perspective in common sense or well-researched psychological studies. Nope, ambition is inherent in who we are before the God who created us. The Bible teaches that people are created by God to desire—and to go after those desires with single-minded determination. It’s this capacity to desire and strive that can generate remarkable good or stupefying evil. Whether it’s to conquer nations or control the remote, we’re hardwired to be ambitious for what we want. […] To understand ambition, we must understand that each of us lives on a quest for glory. Where we find it determines the success of our quest.” (p. 16)
Because of our sinful nature we don’t get ambition right. Left by ourselves we miss the point: we either don’t get it at all, or we get it wrong. Generally speaking, people either leave purposeless lives, in apathy and confusion, self-indulgent and with no ambitions or clear vision for their lives, or live pursuing wrong goals, driven by a self-absorbed desire for approval and admiration, trying to build their identity on personal achievements.
We either keep no score or we’re obsessed with always keeping score, but mostly counting the wrong thing. We were made to chase glory, but East of Eden, our “default settings” look like this: we either don’t chase glory at all, or we chase it in all the wrong places, and for our own sake.
Especially amongst Christians, ambition is in deep trouble. It has enemies within (a misunderstood sense of humility) and enemies without (the world and its values, that often are more pervasive in the church than we’d like to admit). I’d put it like this: when it comes to ambition, most Christians don’t get it, and those who get it, get it wrong! It has to do with a self-destructive tendency that keeps tempting us to make ambition the fuel that allows us to build our identity on our achievements and keep the control over our own lives. Let me explain.
For Christians the temptations surrounding ambition are even subtler, more sophisticated and harder to deal with: any person that serves others is in danger of pursuing great goals with the wrong heart. We easily tend to build our sense of worth and identity around our “godly ambitions”, always prone to “photobomb God” and steal some of his glory. Make no mistake, ambition is a God-given human trait, but if ambition defines you, it will never fulfil you: “large ambitions open the door to bigger disasters.” (p. 140)
The Extremes of Ambition
Often preaching is only adding to the confusion of already confused believers in search of a meaningful way to make their lives on this side of eternity count. There are various rhetorical devices employed from the pulpits of our churches. I’ll single out two extremes:
- “Let God and let go”, which sometimes involuntarily promotes a welfare spirituality, laziness and a lack of responsibility.
- “Dream big, for God’s glory, press on, you can do mighty works with God on your side!”, which creates the pressure for greatness “in God’s name”, but for "one’s fame”, an understanding plagued by worldly values such as fame, visible results, growth and impact, etc.
It all starts with an incomplete understanding of identity. If our own identity becomes the chief focus of our lives, we either become too complacent, or too concerned with “maintaining” it.
We should constantly remind ourselves that we find our identity not in our failures or successes but in Christ!
Sometimes, despite our best intentions, we confuse our goals with God’s will. Harvey offers his readers a few great criteria to examine our heart motives and exercise discernment:
- “Ambitions can be godly only if they’re dependent.” (p. 176)
- “Our willingness to make others a success is a great measure of the purity of our ambitions.” (p. 106)
Another great health check for ambition is to see whether we are content with being part of God’s plan, regardless of our specific role. Being a huge admirer of Spurgeon, Harvey quotes him on this as well: “What you’re a part of is more important than the part you play.” (Spurgeon, cited on p. 167) Shifting the accent from “my part” to “what I’m a part of” stirs ambition for “seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” and keeps my focus where it should be, not on “all the other things that will be given to us” as well.
Having said that, let me get back to where I diverted from. If, generally speaking, when it comes to ambition, people don’t get it, or get it wrong, there are mainly two approaches in any attempts to rescue ambition:
- A. For those who don’t get it, make sure they get it!
- B. For those who get it wrong, make sure they get it right!
Ambition Ignited, Motivation Converted
Making use of Dave Harvey’s perspective, in his own words, the solutions for these two major problems with ambition are: A: “ambition ignited” and B: “motivation converted.”
Rescuing it from the apathy of living a meaningless, purposeless life, and rescuing it from the self-absorbed desire for approval and admiration. For the A-type of people, the conservation instinct, the desire for comfort and their risk-avoidance keeps them from being consumed by great ambitions, and part of the solution is to overcome the fear, laziness and inertia. For the B-type of people, the desire for greatness and fame keeps them in a perpetual state of discontent, restlessness, always chasing for more, prideful but insecure; for them, the solution is to lay down their pride, and keep their dreams open to examination, so their dreams can be transformed, challenged, even denied if that’s their salvation. To emphasise this further, I’d say that the A-types, the ambition-less people keep their ambitions hostage to their comfort and drown their dreams in their fear of the unknown, while the B-types are being held hostage, consumed by their own dreams and ambitions.
A Return to "Factory Settings"
As the wise says in Ecclesiastes, “there is a time for everything”, and God “made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-11)
We’re often out of sync with God’s timing, so we miss the beauty; glory evades us, because we’re not paying attention.
If one loses her sleep, she loses her dreams. If one is always sleeping, he will never see his dreams realised. We need to learn to be ambitious from a place of rest, security and complete trust in the One who “made everything beautiful in its time”, so our ambitions shape a harmonious way of living.
As they say, there are at least two ways of falling from the horse. People are drawn to extremes and in our attempt to correct our lack of balance, we often go from one end all the way to the other. Often the pendulum finds its equilibrium only after full swings to the extremes. We tend to be bipolar with ambition: we don’t get it at all, or we get it awfully wrong. So, if one had no notable ambitions, upon receiving this news about good ambition, one might go straight from apathy into a frenzy of “making it count, dream big and start yesterday”, driven by FOMO (the fear of missing out), while if one was overly goal-oriented and self-ambitious, upon receiving the same news, the tendency might be to get loose and “live in the now, go with the flow”.
We can only "dream effectively" from rest. And we should be careful not to confuse ambition with identity. Identity shapes ambition, not vice-versa. Our ambitions should be anchored in our identity, but our identity, although shaped by what we pursue, should never be anchored in our specific ambitions. In being who we are, we are free to dream big. We are not dreaming to become, but dreaming because we are, not striving to become, but striving because we are. If we struggle in the pursuit of greater things, if our desires are redeemed and elevated, we are free to struggle, we're not struggling to become free. It’s an ambition exercised from freedom and rest: “in repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15)
True Humility Promotes Great Ambition and Inspires Courageous Action
The remedy against a meaningless life with no ambition or a perilous relationship with ambitions is a biblical understanding of humility:
“Humility doesn’t have to quench ambition. And ambition—the right kind—doesn’t have to trample humility. Humility, rightly understood, shouldn’t be a fabric softener on our aspirations. When we become too humble to act, we’ve ceased being biblically humble. True humility doesn’t kill our dreams; it provides a guardrail for them.” In order to save it, “we must snatch ambition from the dust heap of failed motivations and put it to work for the glory of God.” (p. 9, 10, 14, 16)
Apart from God, our quest for greatness is often a search for approval. We want to be applauded and esteemed. We live for praise. We attempt great things because we crave being celebrated. Because of Christ’s perfect obedience, we are accepted in God’s sight and we no longer live for approval; we live from approval. We no longer live ambitious for approval, but we act ambitious because we have approval. (p. 56-59)
If our understanding of doctrine creates passivity toward God’s empowering presence or cools the hot embers of our ambition, we’ve misunderstood God’s sovereignty. (p. 85)
The greatest ambitions are realised on the path of humility. (p. 101)
Humility should never be an excuse for inactivity. Our humility should harness our ambition, not hinder it. (p. 117)
Clarify Your Ambition - Don't Settle for Lesser Glory
“One way to clarify your spirituality is to clarify your ambition.” (Donald Whitney, cited on p.16)
“We must seek a certain type of glory. We’re to hunger, crave, earnestly desire—to be ambitious for—the glory that comes from God. Jesus Christ is the glory that comes from God. Loving this glory that comes from God means first savouring the One who personified God’s glory, Jesus Christ. Glory isn’t simply a quality of Christ: No, Jesus embodies the glory of God. He literally is the glory that comes from God. ‘The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.’” (p. 23, 24)
God’s glory displayed in Jesus redeemed us and as a result, we want to live for God’s glory. Grace ignited godly ambition, ambivalence was replaced with aspiration and our motivations are converted. Grace fires the soul and makes us want to live for the only glory that matters. (p 25, 26)
Godly ambition discerns what’s of eternal value and sets our desires to what’s worth prizing above everything else and worth pursuing with all our heart and strength.
When all is said and done, what we actually go after is what truly matters to us. This ability to perceive, prize, and pursue is part of our essential humanness, and it’s the essence of ambition. Your pursuits—whatever they may be—reveal what you prize. What we pursue will ultimately define us. It will claim our time, absorb our resources, and shape our future. (p. 19, 27, 31)
“To love glory is to pursue glory. If we love the glory that comes from God, it translates into a lifelong, passionate, zealous quest—in other words, godly ambition”, but if we love glory, regardless of where it comes, as long as we get it, we might develop an ambivalence towards Christ himself, who is the ultimate display of God’s glory and love showed to humankind. Because it’s easier to perceive and receive immediate appreciations from people, if we value our self-esteem and social respectability, we can easily trade what’s of “surpassing worth” (Paul in Philippians) with vain praises from people. Jesus asks all of us, “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” (John 5:44)”
“Ambivalence toward Christ actually means we’re rejecting the glory that comes from God in pursuit of something counterfeit.“ (p. 26)
In the same gospel, John writes the following:
“Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. […] Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved human praise more than praise from God.”
What a tragedy! To have God incarnated in your midst, to even believe in him, but to repress that out of desire to please people more than the only one that really matters!
We Perceive, We Prize, We Pursue. We Have Ambition.
We are glory chasers: we pursue what we value. We’ve been captivated by a glimpse of God’s glory, we've started to learn to recognise it, and we want more: “We perceive something, prize it at a certain value, then pursue it according to that assigned value because we were created that way. This ability to perceive, prize, and pursue is part of our essential humanness, and it’s the essence of ambition.” (p. 27)
Regardless of anything that we might say, what we do speaks louder:
the depth of my love is seen in the intensity of my pursuit.
Godly ambition is willing to pay more than full price if that’s what it takes.
Godly ambition isn’t just being “in the market” for something. It is prizing so much what really matters, what's of “surpassing worth”, that we go after it no matter the cost; we’re willing to sacrifice to get it. We’re called to “hunger and thirst for righteousness” (Matthew 5:6) and to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33).
Prizing what is of eternal value stirs ambitions to pursue those things. (p. 29-31)
In addressing the Philippians, the Apostle Paul wrote a letter about responsibility, ambition, courage, resilience, ultimate success and failure. Paul was an ambitious man, and he lived according to his supreme ambition: “to know Christ Jesus his Lord”:
“I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord,” he tells us. “For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things . . .” (Philippians 3:8). He’s referring to all that once defined him—his people, his education, his godliness under the law, his religious zeal. These cultural crowns of ancestry and accomplishments, Paul declares, are only a big zero compared to knowing Christ.
When all is said and done, what we actually go after is what truly matters to us.
Pursuit means passion, purpose, and action.
What we pursue will ultimately define us. This is not to say that our ambitions are our identity; but the object of our ambitions and longings will claim our time, absorb our resources, and shape our future.
Ambition Sanctified: A "Holy Drive" - Going, Not Knowing
“To be ambitious is to be future-minded. Ambition gets us dreaming about what life might look like if we apply ourselves. It points us forward and invites us to aspire to something not yet seen.” (p. 214)
It requires faith and obedience based on trust, because we’re going, not knowing. Where there’s ambition, there must be risk. Risk is the cost of ambition; if you eliminate risks, you obliterate ambition. The Christian life is a kind of mysterious suspense, where we’re acting on godly ambition without knowing the result. (p. 179)
When God speaks , we have two options:
- Flee in an attempt to protect ourselves from the risk of obedience
- Move forward in faith, not dismissing the risk, but accepting it as part of the path (p. 173, 174)
Having a godly ambition pushes us to do things we never expected. It incites us to look beyond the borders of our comfort and convenience. The gospel stokes ambition by making audacious claims upon it. Ambition and risk are the human ingredients God uses to put the gospel into circulation. Here’s where we discover a strange irony. God wants to rescue ambition so that ambition, in turn, can rescue us. Ambition rescues us by exerting claims on us that change our lives. (p. 175-176)
If we have our ambitions sanctified, God will use them in turn to sanctify us.
Harvey lists three claims that godly ambition will place upon us and the benefits associated with attending to these claims:
- Claim 1: Step up beyond the unknown!
Ambition rescues us from misplaced security. God puts us where we feel compelled to climb despite the risks; when we don’t know the future, we find out whom we really trust. We’re called not to control the future, but to trust God for it. Risk rescues us from misplaced security by anchoring us in the eternal.
- Claim 2: Prepare for difficulty!
Because ambition rescues us from distracting comforts, it keeps us rooted in what really matters. Godly ambition rescues us from the distraction of trying to follow Christ and seek comfort at the same time. Ambition drives us onward, knowing that God is glorified in us when the gospel goes forth through our sacrifices.
- Claim 3: Value the gospel above all!
Prize the gospel above reputation, status, income, and lifestyle. (p. 176-186)
It’s a paradox: ambition needs to be rescued from the “me” trap, but God turns the tables and uses holy ambition to rescue us. He delivers us from flimsy security and harmful comforts. He sets us free to live for what really matters. (p. 188)