“If you are a Christian, you are not your own. Christ has bought you at the price of His own death. You now belong doubly to God: He made you, and He bought you. That means your life is not your own. It is God’s. Therefore, the Bible says, ‘Glorify God in your body.’ God made you for this. He bought you for this. This is the meaning of your life.” ~ ‘Don’t Waste Your Life’ by John Piper
As has been stated, “simply defined, ‘A holy ambition is really wanting to do something that God really wants you to do. Something you want to do so much that doing it keeps you from doing other things that you really like to do. Paul really wanted to go to Rome for years (Romans 15:22). But he didn’t go because he wanted something else more. He wanted to preach the gospel in Asia and Greece where people didn’t know about Jesus. He really, really, really wanted to do this. We call that kind of desire an ambition. And we call it ‘holy ambition’ when it is something God wants you to do (A Holy Ambition by John Piper; pg.17).'”
Where then does this holy ambition lead us? For Paul, it led him into lands where no one knew who Jesus was. We might say he was passionate for foreign missions. John Piper forces a serious question to surface for me.
“What happens to those who die in these foreign lands never having heard the gospel?” Does God just overlook their sin due to the fact that no one went to them with the good news of Jesus? If this is true, shouldn’t we shut down all missions efforts immediately? Wouldn’t it be better for them to never hear than to risk them hearing and rejecting the gospel?
Unfortunately, the Bible is very clear that this is not at all how it works. While it may be true that God only holds people accountable for the amount of revelation of Himself that He has given to them, He insists that everyone knows that He is! In the first couple of chapters of Paul’s letter to the Romans we read, “because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them (1:19).” He explains that God makes Himself known through the evidence of creation and through the human conscience. Say what we will, we all know there is a Creator to whom we are accountable to.
Do you recognize the dilemma? Everyone knows that He exists, but no one knows how to gain access to Him. This is where the Word of God enters the equation. The Bible tells us how a relationship with God can be established. Without access to the Word, no one can know Him, “for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” This means that unless someone takes the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ into every people group, there are those who will face God’s wrath and judgement never having heard that He remedied our sin problem.
Does that stir your conscience? It does mine! Why? Because I know that I’ve spent many years ignoring my call to have a holy ambition. Does this mean that everyone packs their bags today and heads for a third world country? Not necessarily. Does it mean some should? Yes, assuredly. What I think it means more though is that every one of us who names the name of Christ should have a heart for missions locally and abroad. One author states that it is an anomaly for a Christian to not be mission minded. Regardless of anyone’s stance on sovereignty and election, there is no denying that we will all stand before the judgement seat of Christ and give an account of our lives. I fear my Lord’s response when He hears, “I would have supported a missionary but I had to have the latest IPAD, the largest TV screen, the fanciest automobile, and the most luxurious home.”
Please don’t misunderstand me. I don’t believe that everyone is called to one specific immeasurable need. God is working in the lives of His people to meet all sorts of needs. Many of those needs are right within the walls of our own homes, and in our communities and workplaces. Still, how can we have the mind and heart of Christ and not be broken knowing that many will perish today having never heard the name of Jesus?
Lord, search our hearts. Give us a great passion to see Jesus named in every nation as Lord and Savior. Make us usable vessels for Your service.