April, 2002 Wingspread
THE GREAT GOD: AMBITION
By Billie Marie Zal
Did you ever think about the word, “ambition,” and wonder about its consequences? I just looked it up in the dictionary and I read: “An eager or an inordinate desire for preferment, honor, superiority, power, or attainment.”
Since this is a true description of ambition, I shudder to think of the mess our world is in today. Ambition is prized, sought after, and admired. Parents begin planning an ego trip for their little ones from the cradle, and children lose their childhood to a rigid schedule of “programming” for achievement. Children cannot be children anymore.
But from where does this obnoxious desire emanate?
The answer is simple. It emanates from the devil himself.
God says so, and God cannot lie. In the first Book of the Old Testament, the devil entered into the serpent (who, by the way, no doubt walked upright and was extremely beautiful) and caused him to pull at the heart strings of Adam’s wife, Eve, and seduce her with the thought of ambition.
He pointed to the one tree which God had said they must not eat of its fruit. Eve, flattered by the attention, listened. She fell because Satan had introduced her to the great god, Ambition. He had said, “If you eat of this fruit, you will be as gods.” Then Adam fell and that is why we face the ruination of the human race today. The great god Ambition took us down, in Adam.
I’ve been around awhile and ministered to the Lord for years and I see this happen every time a man or woman “gets on TV.” Some little known evangelist who is working hard to save his small band of believers is invited to preach on Christian television. He is humble, his words have power, and God is with him.
I don’t see him again for some time, but when I do I am grieved in my spirit. This young man now sports a “big time” tailor made suit. His hair has been “re-done,” and he brags openly about having a big new Rolls Royce which somebody bought for him. His message is the same, the Bible verses are the same; but the man is not the same. There is no power in his message and he has lost God’s anointing. The great god Ambition has overcome him and he will continue on his way, believing that he has “made it” when all the while, only those who have this god indwelling them (Ambition) will praise him.
I saw a painting once and wish I could have bought it. I even remember the price: it was a very large painting in a Bible Book Store at the Mall, and it cost $365. It might as well have been three thousand dollars, but as long as it hung there, I made my way to it every time I went to the Mall and took time for the blessing of “just looking.”
The painting depicted a great Cathedral, filled with worshipers. Down at the Altar, there were the priests, (or preachers, whatever,) and I could sense the “pageantry” and the admiration of the congregation.
BUT----at the very back, there sat a woman, with her head covered, and bowed in worship and praise. And guess who was standing there, in all of His Glory? JESUS CHRIST. He didn’t go down to where the big events were taking place. He stood instead by this woman who worshiped Him in spirit and in truth, and as He bent over her, I got the impression that suddenly her heart was full of joy. When the painting finally disappeared, I felt lonely.
Ambition is a horrible greed for power, for importance, and for honor. When I was a little girl, my Mother used to say to me, “You don’t have any ambition...You are just like my cousins who are ‘river rats’ in Missouri.” I had no idea that “river rats” were, but years later, to my surprise, I discovered that they were intelligent and thrifty men who were guides for the big time fishermen who came to that particular river. They knew where the fish were, and they made a good living.
I thought it would be wonderful to live like that, and I still do. What is so wrong with being a guide to people who want to catch fish? There is no stress to such a life, and there is always enough to eat. But Mama thought I should “amount to something.”
I just did not have that “inordinate desire for attainment” and thank God I didn’t. I loved to day dream, to wander in our forest, to observe God’s creation, and to grow up, get married and “live happily ever after.” I couldn’t see anything wrong with that.
But Mama’s influence got to me, and I began to “achieve.” I worked at it until I got a very good position as an executive secretary to a man in Chicago. It would have been a life time job---with huge bonuses, and all kinds of privileges. But God intervened and I left that position and moved on downtown to Chicago’s famous “loop.” Eventually I was offered a lucrative position as personal secretary to a United States Congressman who wanted me to accompany him to Washington, D.C.
Now THAT was the “chance of a lifetime.” I was tempted to take it. But I had one thing in my life which I loved more than I loved myself, and that was my son Richard. He was only five, and I would have to leave him in Chicago with my parents until I found a place in Washington and got things ready for him.
When Richard heard this, he came screaming into my arms and begged, “Please don’t go, Mama.” That was all I needed to hear. I did not go.
And the ambition which I might have acquired by living in the capital never grew and bore its evil fruit. I remained an ordinary person.
The trouble in today’s Christian society is this: individuals have been blinded to the true nature of the god of ambition and believe it is a good thing to embrace it. We might as well have little golden statues with AMBITION stamped on them. People would fight to get one.
We must know the enemy if we are to survive and please God.
I think of Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, walking among men on earth. If Satan did not offer us the great god Ambition, why else would He have appeared to Jesus Christ when the Lord was fasting and praying for 40 days and 40 nights on the Mount of Temptation? Why would Satan have bothered?
But He DID bother. He knew how hungry Jesus was, and He said, “IF thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” If the devil had not known Jesus was the Son of God, He wouldn’t have bothered to tempt Him to satisfy His hunger.
Then a second time, Satan led Jesus up to the holy city and set Him on a pinnacle of the temple and said, “IF thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee, and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.” If He did not KNOW God’s Power, why would He have bothered to challenge it?
And last, it is written that “the devil taketh him up into an exceedingly high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them, and saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me” (Matt. 4:2-9).
Satan played upon what He hoped would be the seed germ of the great god Ambition within Jesus’ heart. And He made a big mistake. No matter how hungry Christ was, or how much He was ridiculed (and thus could “show off:” His miraculous power), or how much Jesus was aware of the fact that one day, He would INDEED own all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them, Jesus Christ never faltered. He proved His Son ship, and His position as the Son of the Most High God, and Satan “fled away.” How did Jesus prove it? By not giving in to the possibility of gaining the rewards of the great god Ambition, and doing only the will of His Father.
Now Jesus Christ was ready to begin His earthly ministry. He had no desire to bow down to the great god Ambition, and He knew the Enemy and overcame Him with the Word of God.
I am wondering today---in such a world as ours---how much do believers actually KNOW about sin, about bowing down to other gods, about overcoming the evil one?
Not many. I have belonged to my Father in Heaven for many, many years, and He gives me discernment, as He promises in His Word. Time and again, I see someone on TV with a real message that strikes at the heart. I always praise God at such a time, for true witnesses are scarce. In fact the Bible says that when Jesus comes, will He find FAITH on the earth? In other words, true FAITH will be extremely rare. The preachers who have true faith seldom are seen again on TV.
Those of us here who have answered God’s call to “lay down our lives for our friends” have no ambition. If we did, we wouldn’t give away all that could be invested, and bring in a hunk of money. If we did, we wouldn’t be satisfied to be “small,” just a “handful of grain on the top of a mountain,.” If we did, we would never take in abused, abandoned animals and nurture and love them. If we did, we would never be silent about our own needs, and give, and give, and give again because God’s Love in us IS GIVING.
If we worshiped the great god Ambition, we would never care about anyone but ourselves, and that would give all of us an eternal sadness. For God’s heart is sad when His children bow down to Ambition.
This god, Ambition, drives us to do things we would never do had we not desired it. The prostitute would not work the streets, the movie and TV “stars” would not succumb to filthiness in order to keep contracts; men in high office would not sell out for the sake of retaining that high office; people would not steal---stealing is done in order to gratify an ambition. Crimes would never be committed because if we are honest, the root of any particular crime is the determination to have something that God never intended that we have.
My little grandmother was my example---I wanted so much to be just like her. And when she died, she had nothing. No money stored up (she gave it all away), no pretty clothes, no nice home. She lived in a tiny apartment with outside stairs she had to climb to get to her front door. I remember seeing her carrying a little coal bucket up those stairs, to keep the fire going. I wanted one day to be that honorable. Never complaining, but just doing what had to be done. She never tried to “win friends and influence people,” she always spoke the truth and my Daddy told me that she wielded a “mean peach limb” when he and her other two boys misbehaved. I knew that most mothers give in to their sons, so the boys will “like them.” My grandma didn’t care if they liked her or not---wrong was wrong, and punishment was inevitable..
Her one desire was to shine for Jesus,” and she did. Her world had not succumbed to the great god Ambition and people had time to notice the special Light that shone out of her. Everyone went to her---a young unwed mother came to her, crying, and was held and blessed by my grandma. The girl made a vow to keep her baby when it was born and God led her to a good man who loved her. No one was going to have a baby shower for her, but my Grandma cared nothing for the great god Ambition, and sent out invitations to a baby shower. People were too ashamed to refuse .
So why do most people embrace the great god AMBITION? Because down deep, we know we are “nobody.” We know in our hearts that we are powerless, caught in the web of circumstances from which we cannot escape. We know we need HELP and instead of going to Almighty God, we go to the world and indulge ourselves until we “make it.”
If you haven’t “made it,” then praise God. You have a Bible. You have His Life laid down for you to get you out of that cocoon of SELF which is always grabbing for importance and gratification. You have the glorious possibility of being “born again” but now with the capacity to worship God, to love Him with all your heart, to seek Him and surely find Him.
Once this happens, AMBITION flies away and you are satisfied. You belong to Someone who is always there, who will never forsake you, and who has prepared a place for you once you leave your mortal body and “fly away.”
My prayer is that you will forget about a “big ministry” once you are free; you will forget about all the money you can make, or the girls you can woo (smile). You will have one, all consuming desire: TO LOVE GOD AND KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS through the power of His Holy Spirit. And one day you will remember these words, and smile at me in heaven.
NEWS NOTES; In the message above, I forgot to mention that Satan “had it all” in Heaven before God threw Him out. He was the chiefest Angel, called “Son of the Morning,” and was possibly God’s most beautiful creation. But for what reason we shall never know, Satan decided that He would displace God and be LIKE GOD and take over. Ambition brought Him down and now He is nothing but a despicable creature, going about using His fallen angels to ruin mankind. Think about it.
THE PUPPIES: We have six puppies left and I will keep them. Three boys and three girls. They are gorgeous and so intelligent, and they are “people-dogs.” They’ve had four adoring women around them since the day their eyes opened. We brought them up to our breakfast room yesterday evening and Munchy, the Yorkshire Terrier, had to “pin them.” They were much too unruly for him. After they left the room looked like a small tornado had hit it. We look forward to their sweet little lives, and the fun we will have with them. Tillie is so proud of them.
FOR: David Thompson’s grandma and mother who are suffering health problems. Also that he makes parole before he has to do the five remaining years. David is at LCF, Lawton,Ok.
FOR; Those who have fallen away from God’s Word and Love at one of the camps where they used to have Bible study among themselves.
FOR: Pete Kerns, Ok.State Pen., and his cell partner, Don.
FOR: Ponnal Buchanan’s Mother to be healed. He is at Stateville, Joliet, Illinois.
FOR: Isaac Thomas, Canton, Illinois, that his appeals will go through.
FOR: Louie Thomas’ Mom, Dori Harper, and Louis asks us to intercede with him for his tendency to idolatry. Perhaps this message will help, but pray for him.
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