Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Finding Your Heart's Desire by R. T. Kendall

Ambition, the desire to achieve. It is Kendall's thesis that God often uses ambition to motivate us to do what He calls us to do. God often appeals to our self-interest, he writes. He also realizes that the trait has been tainted by the fall and needs to be upgraded to the motivation of wanting to please God alone. Our motivation must be developed so that it becomes God oriented instead of toward self-interest.

God knows how to secure the response He wants in us. He has a thousand ways to do it.” (60) He knows us best and knows how to get our attention – how to motivate us. “It is not a sin to be ambitious,” Kendall writes. “Ambition becomes sinful when it is not subservient to a love for the honor of God.” (73) We are to lay aside all ambition except to please our heavenly Father.

He shows how our ambition should be channeled in one direction – to glorify God. He relates ambition to the gifts of the Spirit (Kendall teaches that the gifts of the Spirit are active today), and the fruit of the Spirit. He looks at the ambition of various Bible characters.

He also looks at selfish (unsanctified or carnal) ambition in biblical characters and the damage it caused then and what it causes now. And one can have too much ambition, even spiritually. Kendall says that is his problem, that he missed his children growing up, etc.

Kendall looks at Ananias and Sapphira and then explores the wrath of God (not eternal punishment but a severe chastening from God). This was hard reading, that God would bring about judgment on people during their lifetime (not having to do with their salvation, however).

I found it interesting that Kendall says a person either has ambition or not. (148) It cannot be taught. So ambition is something God uses – but only if you have it.

Kendall ends with this admonition: “Make it your ambition, then, to excel in your love for His glory.” (179)

Kendall's book is also biographical as he tells on himself quite a bit throughout this work. He also uses the background of the 2012 London Olympics, an event going on while he was writing this book.

This is a good book for a person to read who has great ambition, whether it be ambition for worldly success or in a spiritual endeavor. This book will give one a great deal to think about. As Kendall says, not everyone has great ambition. Those readers many not find much of interest in this book.

Dr. R. T. Kendall is a graduate of Trevecca Nazarene University, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, the University of Louisville, and Oxford University. He was pastor at several churches in the United States and then became the minister at Westminster Chapel in 1977, remaining there 25 years. After his “retirement” he became active in the Alexandria Peace Process. He is the author of more than fifty books. He and his wife live on Hickory Lake in Hendersonville, Tennessee.

Chosen Books, 192 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

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