Selfless Ambition


“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).

Who doesn’t like a man of ambition? You know the kind I mean. Determined. A person with lofty goals and dreams. A person who goes after what he wants no matter what. A take-charge kind of guy.

It’s one thing to have ambition. It’s another thing to have selfish ambition. This is the kind of ambition that only rewards itself. Where all of he effort and hard work go to increasing your wealth, benefits, ease of life, and personal adventure. Paul also calls this conceit. We do these things out of a desire to build ourselves up. How often have you met someone of great ambition who desired to exercise that ambition only on behalf of others? With the exception of a few pastors I know, and a few parents, I can’t count such people on one hand.

Paul has an opposite description to challenge us with: humility, considering others as greater than we are. We might call this selfless ambition. 

I take it back. There is one person I can think of who had what we might call selfless ambition. Paul wrote about him in Philippians 2:5-8. “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

Memory Verse

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).


Consider what you might do for someone else today. How can you do it without gaining any attention or recognition for yourself?

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Tom Terry is a broadcast specialist serving with Campus Crusade for Christ. He has served in talent and management positions for over 35 years in radio and TV in the US, Turkey, and Mongolia. He currently manages Global Broadcast Strategy for Jesus Film Project, and as a consultant for radio and TV projects in multiple countries. The author of 12 books, Tom and his wife, Diane, live in Orlando, Florida. The views expressed by Tom are solely his own and may not reflect the ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ.


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