Friday, February 5, 2010

Good Ambition

James 3:13-18 (ESV)
Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. [14] But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. [15] This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. [16] For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. [17] But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. [18] And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

It is strange to me that James here qualifies ambition with selfishness. The implication is that there is a different kind of ambition. I tend to think that is true. There is good ambition, and it isn’t always just selfishness. Without ambition we wouldn’t have any leaders whatsoever. We shouldn’t begrudge people just because they are ambitious. We betray ourselves and our own ambition when we complain about the ambition of others.

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