How Thin is the Line Between Your Purpose and Your Personal Ambition?
There was a song out years ago that said, “It’s a thin line between love and hate.” That statement sounds convincing. But is what it says; always the case? If so; should it be? A thin line between two things or feelings, intimates that it’s easy to go from one side of a line to the other.
When we think about love and hate being on opposite sides of a line; is it easy to cross over? Yes? Sometimes? Maybe? Well; let’s rephrase the song’s question.
“How easy is it to move from loving to hating someone?”
I asked a young lady in her early thirties this question. She said, “VERY!” We didn’t go into detail; as to; why she feels this way. But knowing some of the things she has gone through; I can understand why she does. It’s people. Not all people in general; but people with personal agendas.
Sheep or Wolves?
Even when you come across a wolf in sheep’s clothing; it’s not good to hate. That’s a strong word. It doesn’t matter what a person says; love has to prevail.
Love smothers your frustrations. Love helps you look past a person’s faults and see their needs. Love helps you to keep loving a person; even though you do not like their ways. Love prompts you to examine yourself; and see what you did to cause a person to become angry with you. Love would have you to apologize; even when you don’t feel as though you wronged anyone. Love convinces you to obey the Word of God; and love your enemies. (cf. Matthew 5:43-45). It’s up to you to love; even when people make it hard.
Has anyone ever stood in your face and called you a liar? Their face was straight; and their tone was light? Yet; as they described conversations you’ve had; they twisted around words you supposedly said? In my opinion; that’s definitely; like my mama used to say; “The pot calling the kettle black.”
When you have a gift of discernment; you detect people’s enmity; as they spew out a laundry list of accusations. But when they start talking to you as if they’re a prosecuting attorney; and you’re on trial; stay calm. It’s a manipulation tactic. Remember!
There’s a reason why someone coined the phrase, “Master manipulator.”
These type of people have a calculated method of trying to get you to agree with their falsehood. They have an art for drilling questions. They will ask one question after another; to not let you get a word in. When you attempt to answer them; POW! Here comes another accusatory question; cutting you off. Drilling questions; i.e.; “Did you not say, this or that? Tell me; did you? So you’re saying, xoxo?” Remember; their point is to prove to themselves; what THEY think about you.
Have you ever been grilled so much until you start questioning your own memory? Fabricators are very convincing. They have a knack of causing you to start wondering if you actually said what they claim you said. Especially, when you have a lot on your mind.
But; keep your cool. Don’t believe the hype. That’s a way for some people to cover their deceptive agenda. Just stay the course. Pray inwardly; as they talk. The Lord will help you break through a manipulator’s wall.
Reverse psychology has its advantages.
Here’s a suggestion. Calmly ask your accuser a couple of pointed questions. An insidious smooth talker will eventually trip up and show the cause of their animosity; AND their dishonesty. They will start naming things about your career, education or ministry while describing their view of your inefficiencies. There it is!
When these things happen; don’t argue. Don’t get angry; and don’t call their ill-will out. Just love! Thank God for blessing you with the gift of discernment. Walk away. Don’t entertain nefarious slurs of an indicter. Pray for them. Pray for yourself!
Remember; an accuser will attack your integrity.
Wow! The lyrics to Vickie Winans’ song, “Long as I Got King Jesus,” just came in my spirit. “I’ve been lied on, cheated, talked about mistreated. I’ve been used, scorned; talked about sho as you’re born. I’ve been up; down; almost to the ground. But long as I got King Jesus; I don’t need nobody else.” But; the question is; “Why do people falsely accuse you?”
There are many reasons. They might covet the anointing on your life. They might envy your influence. Maybe they begrudge your ministry assignments, education, and intellect. Maybe, they deal with low self-esteem; and target you, so they will feel better about themselves.
Perhaps it’s their own personal ambition.
Ambition in and of itself; is a good thing. According to Merriam-Webster, ambition means: “A strong desire to do or to achieve something; typically requiring determination and hard work. Desire and determination to achieve success.”
We all need ambition. But when envy or covetousness taints our ambition; problems occur. That’s a trick of the enemy of our souls; to place encumbrances in our paths.
My friends, how thin is the line between God’s purpose for your life and your personal ambition?
Does it matter? YES! If your personal ambition is not in God’s Will; it will hinder your purpose. That is why you must stay in prayer to discover your purpose. You must make sure your ambition lines up with God’s Word. Your drive for success must be ensconced in God’s Will for your life. Your untainted personal ambition will help you carry out your God-given purpose.
Twenty or so years ago, an evangelist who attended my church called me, and said, “You are very ambitious. Are you trying to get a position in the church?” At the time, I was new to ministry. I told her a few choice words (no profanity); and hung up.
At that time in my life; though I was pursuing a college degree; ministry ambition and purpose were far from my mind. I got back in church at a time when I was hurting; raising my children alone; and missing my mother. I had just acknowledged God’s call on my life. The focal point of the area of ministry God wanted me to serve in wasn’t given to me yet. Earning more money; and finding refuge from the pain, were my priority.
The Psalmist said, “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.” Psalms 91:1-3 KJV. When you allow God to cover you; NO spiritual attacks will cause you to give up.
Now that I think about that phone call; it makes me think about a quote by Mark Twain. “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that; but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”
Let’s talk about the first attack mentioned above.
When someone accuses you of being a liar; it’s an attack against your INTEGRITY. That’s major. Think about it. Anytime you are living all you know to please God; and someone brings your integrity into question; you’re doing something right. The enemy of your soul wants you to quit. But keep going. Don’t forget the scripture: “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” 2 Timothy 3:12 KJV
My friends, let me ask you another question. Do you agree: “It’s okay that the line between your PURPOSE; and your PERSONAL AMBITION, is VERY thin?” I do; but; only when you live your life in obedience to God’s Holy Word.
So when your integrity is under siege; don’t start second guessing yourself. Don’t yield to the warfare of believing our awesome God can’t use you. That’s a precursor to quitting.
Please don’t believe the devil’s denunciations. Don’t receive the insults. Stay prayerful. Know who you are in God. Stay focused on your purpose; and your goals. Make sure your personal ambition never becomes tainted. Allow it to serve as a driving force in your purpose.
Success is okay!
Zig Ziglar penned: “Success means doing the best we can with what we have. Success is the doing, not the getting; in the trying, not the triumph. Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is in us, becoming all that we can be.”
Here’s a wonderful Old Testament text: “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” Joshua 1:8 KJV
No matter who says demeaning things about you; remember the scriptures. “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.” Psalms 121:1-3 KJV
Thank you for joining me today. We’ll talk soon.