In the world but not of it

June 4, 2010

Be ambitious for the right things…

Filed under: Uncategorized — In the world but not of it @ 5:00 am

And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.” Genesis 41:41

Only a few hours earlier Joseph was in prison perhaps thinking about the coat his father had made him, reminiscing about the good times at home growing up, wondering about the dreams God had given him and even considering his current situation.

But now he is standing before the most powerful ruler in the known world. He was quickly dragged out of prison, cleaned up and brought before Pharaoh without understanding why. I wonder if in those few moments of being taken whether he thought “oh no, this is it, they are finally going to do me in”…

Suddenly he is confronted with being asked to interpret a dream. Without hesitation he gives glory to God and says “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace.” (Genesis 41:16)

The result for Joseph was not only to be released from prison but he was promoted to 2nd in command.

As I’ve read this story over the years I’ve always pondered on whether it is right or wrong for a Christian to be ambitious. The word itself implies a strong desire to succeed and it seems that the term has never really found a place in the context of a believer’s life. Based on the events leading up to Joseph’s release and promotion I believe we can easily conclude that this was an event in his life that he never expected or would have even considered. He had no relationship with Pharaoh and he was sitting in prison for two years.

Yet, upon accepting this new challenge we see him once again diligently applying the wisdom and talents God gave him to perform the task and once again, we see the Lord blessing the work of his hands. In fact when the famine finally came we see Pharaoh telling his people “Go to Joseph; whatever he says to you, do.” (Genesis 41:55)

A Christian can and should be ambitious, but for the things of God. This means that we can desire to succeed in the world and to prosper but not without first waiting upon the Lord for direction and confirmation of those desires.

And when the Lord does bless us, raise us up; promote us…we need to give Him the glory. Joseph did not take one step before the Lord but allowed God to orchestrate the events of his life and he was faithful to serve Him where he was.

The Bible warns us about the type of ambition we need to avoid…” For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind”. (James 3:16)

If it is for our glory then God will not have the room to work in and around us and we will fail…

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