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 worshippers. 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 worshipped 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 what “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 lifetime 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 they 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 showed 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 Sonship, 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 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 worshipped 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.
The 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.
After a warm and dry winter the flowering bushes and spring flowers started blooming the first week of February. We thought spring was here, but a cold front came with 4 inches of snow. It was beautiful and some much needed moisture. As you can see in one of our photos, Rodney’s shovel is standing where he had started to dig up our garden.
Barney loved the snow and rolled in it and ran and ran. When the last bit of it was laying in a shady part of the deck, he laid on it. He hated to see it melt.
Rodney took the opportunity while the ground was wet and burned all the brush we have all over the mountain. Walnut volunteered his help and they got a lot of stuff cleaned up.
Some of you have asked us to write to your relatives and friends. We don’t do that for several reasons. People need to write to us first so that we will know our correspondence is wanted. We are not looking for a big mailing list to show our growth. That is not spiritual growth and it is of the world. Much money is wasted by religious groups on papers that end up in the garbage. So if any of you have relatives or friends who would like Wingspread then have them write to us and we will be glad to respond.
Also, many of you were worried that Shirley and Ed had lost their little dog and some suggested that they get another dog. They had two dogs and when Wendy died so they still have Little Girl to keep her and Ed company.
I like to write something every month to show that the Word of God is still alive and
practiced here on the mountain. None of us take it for granted how blessed we are to have been chosen and separated for Him. This is a subject hard to explain and I’m not sure I can considering my limits in writing.
Many people will say that they are trying hard. They measure themselves against real evil doers like child molesters, murderers, thieves, etc., and feel at the end of time God will see that they did the best they could and He will invite them into His Kingdom.
This is a false gospel and I will use some of Dr. Scott’s explanations of the “new birth” to show what is needed.
Jesus said, “Ye must be born again.” In my youth I had no idea what that meant. But as the years have passed its become clear. To quote Dr. Scott, “Only the implant of God’s Spirit can save you.” It is so important to see that we cannot save ourselves, and to see our need of redemption. It is not an intellectual understanding. it’s a power from an unseen source. It’s not an imitation of God’s goodness, but an infusion of His power and spirit. We can learn to act like a Christian without ever becoming one. You cannot rely on your own performance to get you there.
So what does it take? We are saved by faith and only faith in the saving power of Christ will get us there. Its not that faith got me in, now I have to do the works. Works may follow, but you will know they are not your works.
So then “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom. 10:17). Ask God to give you understanding as you read and read the Word. Then faith will grow. That’s what Jesus meant by being “born again.” It is no longer OUR life we live, but its this spirit and power that lives in us by faith.
Nothing goes further to help one understand the Bible than the
purpose to obey it. . . Nothing clears the mind like obedience;
nothing darkens the mind like disobedience. To obey a truth
you see prepares you to see other truths. To disobey a truth
you see darkens your mind to all truths.
R.A. Torrey, How to Succeed in the Christian Life
Walnut & Rodney burning brush
After the snow
Prayer Requests for March, 2006
For Dwayne Sundell at Dixon, Illinois, that he will get his good time back.
For Donna Barron who has colon cancer.
For Randal Smith at McAlester, Oklahoma, that he and his family will become closer.
For Ponnell Buchanan at Pontiac, Illinois, that his segregation time will be cut and that he’s released soon.
For Tommy Hayes and everyone on the Estelle Unit at Huntsville, Texas.
For Andre Barry at Lawton, Oklahoma, that he will be transferred to a minimum security facility near Oklahoma City.
For Leon Wright at Lexington, Oklahoma, for his health, and that he’ll be approved for transfer to minimum security.
For Jimmy Huff at Loraine, Texas, for a building for their new Mission Church.
For Willie Clark’s son, Mitchell, who will be released March 13th.
For Ken Hogan at McAlester, Oklahoma, for his back.
For Michael Small’s Mother & Father, for their health and safety.
For Karen Griffin at McCloud, Oklahoma, who has cancer.
For Wingspread, and that we’ll receive rain soon.
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