Every guy has within himself an innate desire to conquer the world. It comes out in various forms. Business, politics, sports, etc. There’s just an ambition that drives us. The desire to be great, to be brave, to be heroic, to conquer. But so often it feels like a dangling carrot that is forever out of reach. No matter how hard we try and how successful we seem to be, it never seems to be enough. Why can we not quell that desire within us? Is it a pointless drive that can never be fulfilled? Perhaps we weren’t meant to quell the desire. Perhaps it’s there for a reason, and we just need to learn the purpose of it. The problem is that we generally do NOT know the purpose, or how to channel it, so it ends up being driven by our insecurities, our feelings of incompleteness. The ambition then becomes a way of proving ourselves, which was not the original intent. But does that make the seed of ambition itself wrong? I don’t believe so. Not if it’s something that God put in us. And I believe He did.
Genesis 1:28 says, “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’” It was the calling of man from the beginning, as far back as Adam. Fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over every living creature. It was a God-given assignment. And with it came the desire within man to increase and to conquer. Of course, that ambition was quickly misdirected when man sinned and tasted shame and insecurity for the first time. Nothing will misguide ambition like insecurity. With insecurity as the engine, our ambition drives us to impress, to compare, and even to conquer other people, which was not the calling we were given. Because of our misguided ambition, the Lord had to make it clear that our drive was not meant to be for selfish pursuits. Philippians 2:3 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition…” And yet for many of us, that is precisely what drives us. The need to conquer in order to prove ourselves. The drive to be successful, to be remembered, to be respected. A misguided ambition. And even though we misuse it so often, it’s still very interesting to me that God put ambition itself within us. Merriam-Webster defines ambition as the desire to achieve a particular end. I believe that ever since God called man to “fill the earth and subdue it” we are, as men, forever carrying a desire to conquer. And perhaps if we would learn to find our identity completely in God, our sense of self in His affirmation, the ambition rooted within us could be used to fulfill the purposes God has for our lives, rather than a means to prove ourselves.