As a church planter, pastor, book author, and traveling minister, I frequently find myself in network meetings and strategic one on one appointments with leaders that have a considerable sphere of influence. I have found over the years that one of the number one conversation starters at these gatherings always seems to start with a question like: What are your dreams, goals, desires, etc? At times, several hours goes by just talking about the future and you haven’t even reached the specific purpose of that particular meeting.
As I have continued to not only share my personal dreams, goals, desires, etc with others and heard the same from CEO’s of companies and church leaders all over America, recently the voice of the Holy Spirit has been gently, but sternly speaking to me. I have learned through experience that sometimes His words bring comfort to me and at other times, they just plain sting because they are so full of truth and as the Word of God says, “He desires truth in the inward parts” Psalm 51:6.
The words that He has spoken to me that have stung and brought deep, heart piercing truth have been simple. Here they are:
Ambition is born from looking into the mirror, but the vision that I give my sons and daughters is born from looking into the throne room and spending time with Me.
Ambition has your best interest in mind, but the vision that I give my sons and daughters has My best interest in mind.
I resist the ambitious, but give grace to the humble.”
And as His whisper fades and my heart melts, I tangibly feel how grieved His heart as a Father really is.
I think the question that church leaders, christian business owners, and even individuals that work for others must ask themselves when they gather around the table to dream together and get with one another in private meetings is this: Is this my ambition talking or is this a vision that is born from time spent with God?
It hurts to even admit it, but there are plenty of creative ideas and business plans that are not born of and from the Holy Spirit. There are numerous plans and desires in the hearts of church leaders that have nothing to do with God and all about building their own empire for their own glory and to establish their wealth and fame in the earth. And more times than not, it’s all disguised under, “advancing the kingdom of God.” What deception!
James 4:6 says that, “God gives grace to the humble, but resists the proud.” To the surprise of many, the line between being proud and being ambitious is thin at best. It’s so thin that rarely can an individual without the help of the Holy Spirit discern the difference between the two!
Ambition can be defined as the earnest desire for some type of distinction, power, fame, and wealth. Being ambitious carries the willingest to strive for its attainment. We must be very careful that what we believe God has planted inside of our hearts, is actually a vision from Him that is born from gazing at the throne-room and seeking Him in his temple. This was King David’s one heart’s cry in Psalm 27:4 as He said, “One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.”
Several years ago, I was contacted by a wealthy Christian business owner to come pray over his newly established business. As I arrived at this premier location and spoke with him about his future plans, I felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to ask him, “Did you ask God if you were to start this business before you built it?” He paused and looked at me and said, “No, why would I do that? I start things and then ask God to bless them.” As he said those words, I felt a terrible grief come over my spirit. I instantly received a vision of this business being shut down within six months. I turned to the man and said, “I am so sorry, but I cannot bless what God has not blessed. Because you have built this business based off of your own selfish ambition and not the will of God, it will crumble because He resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.” I turned around and walked out the door and the business was shut down within six months. Great location, great business plan, great Christian guy, but not birthed from a vision received from spending time with God.
I want to encourage all those who read this to allow the Holy Spirit to do some great searching from deep within today. Ask Him to reveal His truth in the inward parts, even if it stings. Ask Him to reveal how deceptive the human heart really is! Lay all your dreams, desires, goals etc at His feet and say, “Lord, please remove what is born of the flesh and and reveal to me what is born of Your Holy Spirit.” As you do this and humble yourself, you will begin to experience His grace like never before.
There are so few ministries and churches, so few businesses that people can walk into these days and say, “Only God could have done this!” Remember, He gives His grace to those who humble themselves, to those that are willing and eager to spend time with Him and allow Him to breathe His vision into their hearts, but He will continually resist those who love to stare into the mirror and are full of themselves, those who constantly put their best interest ahead of others, to those He will not bless and may we be careful to never bless what God is not blessing. In Jesus Name!
The Unknown Dreamer,