James 3 v 13 - 18

Ambition by itself is not a bad thing: obviously there is the ambition to do the very best you can to follow Jesus Christ and there can be that sense of God moving you to take key positions within the church. It is when ambition is completely directed by self and the need for self-aggrandisement and power whether in a social and secular area or within church that it becomes divisive and is used by the evil one to destroy fellowships. I've known some lovely Christians who have been consumed by selfish ambition within the church, they continue to be those lovely people to most of their fellow Christians and only the one or two leaders see this other dark side of them. That is why we regularly need to review our behaviour and if you have someone with whom you can do that in their presence then all the better. Like anyone else, Christians have a great ability to be blind to the evil they perpetrate. Teachers and church leaders are the most vulnerable to these temptations, but what defines the wrong kind of teaching which comes out of the selfishly ambitious heart? 1. It is fanatical. Truth must be proclaimed with reasoned conviction, not unbalanced unrestraint. 2. It is bitter. It regards those who oppose them as enemies to be annihilated rather than friends to be persuaded. 3. It is self-orientated. This involves 'peacock' activity. When you have heard someone preach, do you come away with how funny they were, how entertaining, how good they looked? Or do you come away challenged by God's Word? 4. It is arrogant. Those who take great pride in their knowledge, who spew out the original Greek and Hebrew words, are to be received with great scepticism. Beware the supercilious preacher!

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