Turn Ambition Into Vision

What are your desires and ambitions? Let God take your ambitions and turn them into visions that fulfill God's plan for you and His ultimate purpose, love.

Scripture: 1 Timothy 1:3-9


Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Yes, this is your friend, Bob Cook. I’m glad to be back with you.

I count it one of the greatest privileges God has ever given me, to have the joy of speaking with you over these many radio stations across the country, day by day. Opening the Word of God and trying, as I say sometimes, trying to put a handle on it so that you can get hold of it for yourself, and apply it. God’s inerrant, infallible Word, the Bible, is forever true whether or not anybody reads or believes it, but it becomes of value to you when you apply it to your own life. We’re not discussing whether or not it’s true, we’re trying somehow to get that truth in touch with individual lives, and I pray every day that God may take the words I say and, and custom fit them, you may say, for your special need. Oh, may that be true today.

I’ve been talking with you about this matter of God’s ultimate purpose being Calvary love in your heart and in mine. The way He implements that is through a pure heart, cleansed through faith in the Lord Jesus, a good conscience, kept that way by constant confession of every known sin and, and, and forgiveness and cleansing, and faith unfeigned which has to do with faith that is followed by substantial obedience to the Will of God. This is the way God implements His purpose in your life. Now, if you missed that, he said, “some having swerved aside.” That, that, that, that word is, you missed it, you missed the turnoff, you missed the road, you missed the mark. If you miss that, then what happens? Well, the last time we got together we pointed out that you end up arguing about things that really don’t matter – vain jangling – words that are useless, words that even drive people away from salvation.

What else? Well, there is mounting selfish ambition: “desiring to be teachers of the law.” The great problem that Paul faced, of course, in his day, was that there were people who were saying, “Yes you, you can trust in Christ, but you must keep the Jewish tradition also.” So that was Christ, plus the law, that was being taught. The entire book of Galatians is a defense against that heresy, and you’ll find Paul mentioning this problem in Timothy as well. Here is, here’s the first evidence of it: “desiring to be teachers of the law.” Mounting personal ambition always follows a deviation from the complete Will of God.

Now, you think about that. That’s quite a mouthful isn’t it? Mounting personal ambition always follows any deviation from the Will of God. The closer you are to the Will of God, the less you’re going to be concerned about “How am I going to get out of this?” The farther you go from the Will of God, the more concerned you are about your own personal ambition and success. That’s a mouthful, but it’s true. “Desiring to be teachers of the law.” This, this word “desire” is interesting. It means something that just consumes you and drives your life. That’s what happens. Then, as you learn, as you move away from the center of God’s Will, you move into an area where you are driven by a desire to succeed on your own. This is a, this is a very strong verb that’s used here, “desiring.” It is something that says – this, this thing just drives you – “I’ve got to have it.”

Now, look at your own life, will you? I can’t, I can’t psychoanalyze you. Even if I could, I wouldn’t, but look into your own life as you wait before God, beloved, and ask Him what is the relationship between your ambition and His Divine Will. Now, I’m certain that God doesn’t want us just to curl up and be a dedicated nothing – you know – a spiritual nobody. There is a, there’s a hymn that I always wince at when they sing it: “I would be nothing, nothing, nothing.” Well, I don’t think God wants you to be a nothing.

God took Peter, who was a blurter, and sanctified his blurts, didn’t he? Peter opened his mouth and said. Peter answered and said. He always answered and said. Nobody ever asked him anything, but he answered and said. That was his characteristic. But God took that and filled it with Holy Spirit, and made Simon Peter the spokesman for the baby church on the day of Pentecost, and 3,000 people were saved.

So God doesn’t want you to take your, your personality and just put it in spiritual ice water and, and, and become spiritually rigor mortis. That isn’t what He’s after. What He does want to do is to take the person you are and fill you with His Spirit so that He can work out His perfect Will in you, and the byproduct is success and blessing. “Promotion cometh not from the East nor the West nor the South, but from the Lord, He puts up one and sets down another,” said the wise man. God will use you and God will give you a vision of what He wants you to do, which is a good deal different from, from mounting, burgeoning personal ambition.

I think of the man who said, “Fellows, when you get the ball, pass it to me because I got to look good.” No, my brother, you don’t have to look good. You have to be faithful; that’s a good deal different.

“Desiring.” What are your desires, and what is the relationship between your personal ambition and the Will of God? See, God takes ambition and turns it into vision. God takes ambition and turns it into obedience and submission to His Divine Will, so that He can do something with you. “Come ye after me and I will make you fishers of men.” The Lord Jesus used what these people were doing – fishing – as the basis for what He wanted to do in their lives. So, are you a good speaker? God will use your speaking abilities. Are you a good manager? God will use your managing abilities. Are you a good singer? God will use your singing abilities, but He won’t use them on the basis of making something out of you, but rather of glorifying Himself. You see the difference? When we miss the mark here, we become the victims of mounting personal ambition.

A man said to me one time, he said, “I used to pray all day, fast and pray all day on a Monday. Then I got busy.” He was, he was a pastor with a radio ministry. He said, “Then I get busy and, and, and the mail came in from the radio and I thought, ‘Oh, I don’t have the time to spend a whole day, I’ll spend half a day,’ and so I spent half a day, and then I thought, ‘Well, my whole life is a prayer anyway, so I’ll just pray my way through the day. It will be alright.’” He said, “I began to lose my power with God and with people and that meant I had to work harder, and working harder I failed oftener and I became resentful.” He said, “The Lord kept me from falling into gross sins of any kind, but I had to repent of all this because I’d strayed away from Him.” That’s what the man said to me.

Oh, find out what is the relationship between your ambition and God’s purpose, will you, and let Him turn ambition into vision, so that you are driven by the love of God, and by the purpose of God for your life. Amen. It’s so important, isn’t it?

Now, “desiring to be teachers of the law.” Mounting personal ambition. Then it says, “understanding neither what they say nor whereof they affirm.” An empty message. All of us have suffered under, under sermons that were correct, but dead. As a matter fact, we, some of us who are preachers may have preached some of them, haven’t we? Oh, I had a beautiful outline one time and I asked that, I asked a college friend of mine back in college days, and he said, “It was laid out nice, but it was dead a long time.” Oh dear. Empty message. You miss the love of God, your heart isn’t full of God’s love. What you say may be correct, but it would be dead.

It says, “understanding neither what they say.” That’s content. The content of your message has to come from your personal understanding and experience of it. If you’re going talk about prayer, you better do some praying first. If you’re going to talk about giving, you better do some giving first. If you talk about soul winning, you better do some soul winning. The meaning in your message has to come from your experience and understanding of it.

I took a course on one occasion, during seminary days, that was taught by a teacher who had been pressed into service because of the death of another professor, and this dear man was staying just one lesson ahead of us. He was taking a course in university in this particular language, and he was staying just one lesson ahead of us. Well, we all made heavy going of it because, while what he said was for the most part correct, he didn’t have the understanding of it that comes with experience in a subject after you’ve taught it.

What is the effect upon people of the things you say, my brother, my sister? What is the content? Does the content of what you say about God really ring true because you have an understanding of it and an experience of it? Well, that’s a, that’s a very important factor. Wait before your Lord until your heart is full and warm and running over with blessing, based upon what you’re about to say, and then say it and you’ll find that people respond. Content depends on spiritual matters, content depends not only upon the, the actual, factual material you have from the Word of God, but your own experience of it.

Then it says, “whereof they affirm,” and that has to do with the authority of your message. See, if you lose God’s way… Now what is God’s way? Love out of a pure heart, a good conscience, and faith that dares to obey. That’s God’s structure for implementing His basic purpose in your life, which is the filling of your life with Calvary love. Memorize 1 Timothy 1:5, because that’s the structure that will build your life.

Now, if you miss that, he says, you don’t have any authority: “understanding neither what they say nor whereof they affirm.” You don’t have any authority unless you have a heart full of the love of God. It’s that simple. You want authority with people? Spiritual authority? You want people to listen to what you say? You want them to act on what you say about your blessed Lord Jesus? Then wait in the presence of God until your heart is filled with His love.

Charles Finney used to say, “the revival comes when Mr. Amen and Mr. Wet-Eyes meet at the altar.” Not bad. Oh, a heart full of Calvary love will give you the authority of the Word of God when you give it out.

Dear Father today, grant to us a heart full of love, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!

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