The Downside of Self-driven Ambition

Have you ever watched one of those reality television talent shows and seen a contestant come out to perform who clearly is out of his or her league? Like me, do you ever think, What on earth made her think singing on that stage was a good idea?

So many people have bought into the lie that we can be anything we want to be. With enough hard work and confidence, we can create any reality we imagine for ourselves.

This kind of self-driven ambition can be the beginning of a life marked by persistent manipulations and countless disappointments. Abner was this kind of man.

When we begin 2 Samuel, we learn that King Saul is dead. Any time there is the death of a king, there is usually a scramble for power and position. Second Samuel 3 begins to reveal the selfish ambition that will be Abner’s downfall. Abner wants to make himself strong, so he sleeps with Saul’s concubine. To sleep with the concubine of a dead king was to assert oneself as the new leader. Abner is trying to take matters into his own hands.

Abner wanted to be all that he could be. He certainly didn’t lack confidence or vision. His desire was to make his own name great despite knowing that the Lord had appointed David to be the next king of Israel (v. 10). This is a dangerous condition of self-help. We can be very, very good at looking at where we are and reasoning that God put us here to take advantage of the situation. I don’t know that this is what Abner is doing, but I do know it’s what I do.

So many of us have quoted the phrase, “God helps those who help themselves.” In fact, many assume it’s actually a verse in the Bible, which it is not. In church-girl circles where we have been trained to do our part, serve the kingdom, and sacrifice for others, women have become really, really good at doing more than our part in the name of Jesus. Because, as we say, “God helps those who help themselves.”

But as we will see with the story of Abner, God usually doesn’t help those who help themselves. Call it what you want, but that kind of selfish ambition, hustle, or control usually gets folks into trouble. (Believe me, I know.) The truth is that God helps those who cannot help themselves! He leans in to help those who have stepped into a God-assignment bigger than they can handle. God helps those who have surrendered their ability to control or manipulate a situation. That’s the place where God steps in.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Whitney Capps