Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Too Little, Too Often

The danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark. –Michaelangelo

That quote was recently posted by one of the people I follow on Twitter.  Taken at face value, it speaks about our work ethic.  But it goes beyond that.  What does it tell us about what can happen to the way we live our lives?  How does it relate to our walk with God?  Let’s find out, after the break.

Many of us do what it takes to get by.  Ambition doesn’t run rampant.  Give people home, family, TV, a few extras and most are happy.  There’s a regular routine to much of life.  In one sense, that may be OK.  The term “ambition” has gained a negative connotation.  It’s been equated with greed, pride, self seeking.  Regularity and normalcy seem to be the most appropriate path.  And that carries over to spiritual living, as well.

In whatever we’re doing, the first mistake is to make ambition a dirty word.  Wikipedia says it’s “the desire for personal achievement”.  The key word, there, is achievement.  Having ambition means we want to accomplish something.  There is a goal that goes beyond the norm.  But how does that apply spiritually?

Matthew 6:33 (KJV)  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
 
There it is, again – my favorite verse.  It’s kind of like an onion, with more being revealed with each layer being peeled back.  In this case, think about another aspect of the first part of that verse.  We’re told to seek.  And what we’re to seek is a standard of life beyond the norm, plus the only righteousness capable of attaining that standard.  Everything else will then fall into place.
 
In practical terms, there are a few things that this highlights.  Church attendance must go from a “have to” to a “want to” and a “need to”.  Instead of being a duty, it becomes how we roll.  Instead of ritual, we aim for real worship.  Instead of settling for just taking in what the pastor shares from the Word, we study on our own so that our own understanding of God and His love becomes deeper.  Instead of just gaining knowledge, we also develop relationship.
 
The desire for personal achievement carries with it a whole new set of rewards beyond what could happen with normal effort.  In the secular realm, it comes down to more wealth.  In the spiritual realm, it means we become transformed, moment by moment, to become increasingly like the one true success, God Himself!  That possibility never fails to excite me.  For myself and for the rest of us.

Whether we’re talking about our earthbound life or our spiritual life, ambition helps us attain levels beyond the norm.  The result is that there are a whole group of worries that disappear.  In everyday life, accomplishment eliminates a whole set of worries that relate to our financial stability.  With our spiritual life, reaching higher levels takes worry out of the picture because of the God in us and with us – the God who can handle all the things our sin weakened nature can’t, including the things of the natural world.

One of the real issues with our fallen nature is that we fall short in everything.  We disappoint ourselves because our standard is too low and we may not even reach that.  But spiritual ambition takes us to a different level.  One where we no longer have to rely just on ourselves.  And the result is spectacular!  No matter what happens, we are exactly where we ought to be in God’s plan.  God got us there.  And we don’t have to settle for too little, too often.

Matthew 19:26 (KJV)  But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
 
What possibilities will your spiritual ambition allow God to give you, today?

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