Summary: All other ambition but glorifying God is small and not worth anything.
Jesus taught James and John a vital lesson - our true ambition in this life is to please God by serving Him and others. But the disciples took time to get the message!
(2) REASONS FOR, RESULTS OF and REMOVAL OF FALSE AMBITION.
(a) Reasons For False Ambition - The Tower Building Mentality.
This comes from having strife in the heart, envious of
others - see Phil 1:16 and Phil 2:3 .
(ii) Thinking The Way The World Thinks -How were James and John doing this?
(iii) Provoked To Do So By Parents or Peers (See Matt 10:35 for who was behind James and John’s request.
(b) Results Of False Ambition -
Infact the greek word translated as ’Selfish Ambition’ in Phil 1:16;2:3 and Romans 2:8 is ’Eritheia’ which means ’Contention or Strife’ and comes from the root ’Erethizo’ which means ’to provoke (to anger)’.
(ii) Disunity and Division - See Mark 9:38-39.
All this hinders God’s desire for us - to reach a dying world!
(c) Removing False Ambition - Aiming For God’s Ambitions.
The solution was that ’Jesus called them to Himself’ (Mark 10:42). We are not to follow the world’s way, but follow Jesus’ way - the way of the Cross - the way of servanthood. All else is small ambition!
(i) 2 Cor 5:9 - Our ambition should be to PLEASE GOD.
(ii) 1 Thess 4:9-12 - This will be outworked in us UPGRADING OUR LOVE.
(iii) Romans 15:20- Paul’s aim (ambition) must be ours - reaching the unreached.
The word for ’aim’ ( godly ambition) here is ’Philotimeomai’ - ’to be fond of honour’ - we are to seek the honour and glory of God in all we do! This means going the way of a servant. Finally James and John did just that.
(1) How do James and John reveal their ambition was not godly ? What was the result ? Does this happen among Chrsitians today ? Why ?
(2) How can you have ambitions that you think are fine but are against God’s will ? Give examples of such ambitions even among Christians.
(3) Talk about false ambitions you have had or are having - suggest practical ways of breaking free from these and going God’s way. This should lead into a time of prayer for each other.