Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Holy ambition

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Colossians 2:20-3:11

 "If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God." Colossians 3:1

"All initiative is not inspired," says Oswald Chambers. "A man may say to you -- 'Buck up, take your disinclination by the throat, throw it overboard and walk out into the thing!' That is ordinary human initiative. But when the Spirit of God comes in and says, in effect, 'Buck up,' we find that initiative inspired" - Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest, Feb 16 reading.

That's what Paul is telling us to do in Colossians 3:1 - to buck up and start making "those things which are above" a matter of thought and action. In other words, to have holy ambition.

"Holy Ambition" is a topic in my Thompson Chain Bible. Here are some of the passages listed under it - a sampling of "those things which are above" that we are to seek:
  • Enter (the Kingdom of Heaven) through the accepted entrance (Luke 13:23-28).
  • Be a hard worker in God's Kingdom, sharing God's word with integrity (2 Timothy 2:15).
  • Pursue love, the spiritual gifts, and the ability to proclaim God's truth with power (prophecy) (1 Corinthians 14:1).
  • Give life our best effort and finish well (collect the prize) (Philippians 3:13; 1 Corinthians 9:24).

It's a list of lofty things for sure. Translating these items from theory into everyday living is the challenge. What does it mean, for example, to enter through the narrow gate? It may mean being the only one in your family who believes and accepts salvation through Jesus. Living to finish well may mean persevering in a job that is sometimes unsatisfying and tedious.

Perhaps one way of applying such principles to life would be to ask ourselves questions, like 'Will this activity help me pursue love? Is it consistent with me being a Kingdom worker? Will it help me finish well?'

To quote Chambers again:

"The initiative of the saint is not towards self-realization, but towards knowing Jesus Christ. The spiritual saint never believes circumstances to be haphazard, or thinks of his life as secular and sacred; he sees everything he is dumped down in as the means of securing the knowledge of Jesus Christ….Whether it be eating or drinking or washing disciples' feet, whatever it is, we have to take the initiative of realizing Jesus Christ in it" - Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, July 11 reading.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to know the difference between human and holy ambition. May I have the imagination to see Jesus present in every circumstance.Amen

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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