I was very happy when one of my good friends, Carissa, shared a sermon with me from her church, RealityLA (it's related to the RealitySF you've been seeing me blog about). It's called The Healing of Ambition (find the video here). It's a long sermon but I've typed up all the points that I felt were really important or hit me personally so if you don't have time to actually listen to the sermon online, feel free to read through my notes instead and take it in that way. I would recommend that after reading my notes, really think hard about what the notes say, try to apply it to your own life or personal situation, and just spend some time praying to God about what it means for you or what changes you should make to your life.
- We aspire to be more than what we are.
- What is your desire and are you filling to bring it to God?
- Your ambitions shape the type of person you become in the future.
- What do you want? If Jesus were to grant you today anything request, what would it be? And if you were to get everything you wanted--imagine if all your requests were granted and you get everything you're looking for--what is the outcome? What is the win for you if you get that?
- The end tends to get lost in the means. We tend to lose sight of the goal. We tend to focus on the wrong things.
- The problem with our ambition is not that it's too big but that it's too small. Any ambition that doesn't take into account God and His kingdom is not too big; it's too small. Your ambition is never meant to end with you.
- Selfish ambition brings rivalry. If everyone's on Team Me, then no one's on Team You. And this spreads like a disease where everyone just tries fight for position. Selfish ambition is driven by the fear of being left out or the fear you and your influence won't last and that we'll be insignificant.
- Our ambition needs correction and conversion.
- Ambition goes wrong when people become your platform and influence becomes your identity.
- Jesus does not convert to our desires. He converts us to His desires. We are not supposed to conform to how others live, but to how God wants us to live.
- He does not say power, position, and privilege are bad. He just wants us to think of them in a radically different way. Stop thinking like rulers, and start thinking like servants.
- Wherever you are (whether it be LA, SF, anywhere) does not need manipulative rulers. Wherever you are needs Christ-like servants.
- If you're about service, then you'll show love toward other people.
- How are you using your position in society? Are you using it to live above others or live on their behalf?
- What if the people you work with found out you were a follower of Jesus? What if your coworkers asked: "What can we expect about your work? How will your work be different because of your faith?"
- What gifts has God given you?
- We shouldn't use people to build up our gifts. We should use our gifts to build up people. That's what they're for and that's why they exist. We go from loving privilege to loving people through privilege.
- Serving doesn't necessarily mean doing more. It means doing things differently.
- The feeling you get when you give gifts is a little hint of what we should be doing through serving with joy.
- Sometimes we can't use the gifts God has given us and it makes us impatient to wait to use them. But in reality, God is bringing life because He is teaching us to trust in who we are in Christ, not the things we do for Christ. Even though our gifts are good, these are moments where God is refining us.
- Godly ambition causes you to move in where others keep their distance. Godly ambition means you speak the truth when others won't.
- The degree to which you esteem the praises of people is the same degree by which you will be destroyed by their criticism. If you live for applause or approval by the crowd, you will die by their criticism. But Jesus is saying He can provide a new way. It's not by being arrogant, but through compassion and humility. You can be undeterred by the crowd because you focus on the people in need because you can be moved to love even when the crowd is not on your side. That's what Jesus did. He did not allow the crowd to dictate his agenda.
- The world says look out for yourself. Jesus says look out for others.The world says get all you can. Jesus says give all you can.The world says live above all the rest. Jesus says live on their behalf.The world says reach for the stars. Jesus says reach for your neighbor.
- Pray that God gives you love because when you have love, you'll become a servant.
I hope that the sermon and these images are just as powerful to you as they are to me. It takes time to soak in and feel free to listen to the sermon over and over again. This sermon is so packed with great stuff and I would love to hear what you think of it. Let me know in the comments below! And definitely feel free to share any sermons that really affected you or that you've really enjoyed because I would love to listen to them :)
Have an amazing week everyone and for those of you who are on spring break, make the most of it!!