[Proverbs 15:16-17] – “Better is a little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure with trouble.”
[Proverbs 16:8] – “Better is a little with righteousness, than vast revenues without justice.
[Proverbs 17:1] – “Better is a dry morsel with quietness, than a house full of feasting with strife.”
As with humility and pride, less can be more and more can be less. These passages do not necessarily mean that we should aim to have less or achieve less. Instead, they aim to show us the eternal value of what we have; the consequences the root of our ambition can have.
Proverbs tells us that having a little with “fear of the Lord“, “righteousness“, and “quietness” is better than having lots with “trouble“, “strife” and “without justice“. We are looking again, at a comparison.
- Fear of the Lord is better than finding trouble
- Righteousness is better than unjust gain
- Quietness is better than obtaining strife
At the root of all this is ambition. While pride and humility contrast our desire for recognition from man versus recognition from God, ambition questions our motive for seeking gain. Whether this is success financially, in material goods, in relationships or career; the question is – are we working for God’s kingdom, or working for our own? Are we doing His will, or doing our own?
Godly ambition takes the attitude of humility and applies it practically. It adds passion and obedience to humility.
[2 Peter 1:5-7] says this:
“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
So, if we walk out our lives in these things and have knowledge of Jesus Christ, we cannot be unfruitful. In fact, we are already successful in all things simply because we are in relationship with Jesus.
[2 Peter 1:3-4] describes the reason for godly ambition, the reason we want to add faith, virtue, perseverance and all these things to our character:
“… as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
In knowing Christ, we become partakers of his life; receiving “great promises”, partaking in his “divine nature”, able to escape the “corruption of the world through lust”. We can know that the promises God speaks in His word will come to pass – no crying, no pain, humanity reunited forever with God. We can know Christ, who is better than anything else on this earth. We can have passion instead of lust, a fervent spirit that drives us to live with full vigour and hope.
Godly ambition is driven by the knowledge of God and of the life He has purposed for every person on earth. It is driven out of love; a desire to love God and to love others. This is the kind of ambition found in [Psalm 84:10]. It shifts our mindset to know what is truly important and worthy of pursuit.
“For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.”