When Obedience Looks Like Selfish Ambition

We are studying the book of James at church.  So basically its “all conviction – all the time!”   Week one — count it all joy when life falls apart!!  *fist pump* ( Doing sort of okay — well not really, on that one.)  Week two —  get that tongue under control!   (cone of shame)  And yesterday: Chapter 3: 13 – 18.

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

Okay. Here is where the problems started.

In verse 14 self-seeking is also translated selfish-ambition.

So this is the issue for me.  Building a platform, and publicizing my music seem like self-promotion, and self-seeking.

But it is what God is calling me to do. He is pushing me (reluctant, nervous and all but kicking and screaming) out of my introverted hermit-like comfort zone. He is opening my mouth in the most surprising of circumstances, and giving me boldness that has been a long time coming, to be honest.

How do I reconcile obedience with this idea of selfish-ambition and self seeking being demonic wisdom?  (verse 15)

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The only solution I see is that I check my heart, my mind, my priorities frequently.

Because the bottom line is that if all of this were up to me, I wouldn’t be doing any of this. I would be too scared. I would be continuing to write the songs that He is giving me, but wondering if they would ever be heard. It does not matter that it has been the dream of my heart — on my own volition, I would be sitting and waiting for the dream to be realized.   So now He is actively working in me, abolishing  excuses and walking me through my fears and insecurities.  But if this becomes about me,  then I don’t want any part of it.

I want my life, and my ministry to declare the amazing things that HE has done, and how great HE is.

[Tweet "I want my life & ministry to declare the amazing things that HE has done, and how great HE is. "]

One of my favorite songs, “Words,” by Hawk Nelson has a line that has become my motivator, encourager and measuring stick.

Let my words be life
Let my words be truth
I don’t wanna say a word
Unless it points the world back to you


Photo Credit: westpark via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: westpark via Compfight cc


It is a strange tight rope of a life.  My mission is to be faithful to what He is doing, and being obedient in the steps that He is leading us to take, but not crossing over into thinking that it is about me.


On that note, it is not without a hint of irony that I invite you to join me over on my new “artist” facebook page. What dreams are building up in you? What steps have you done, or can you accomplish today to bring you closer to the dream becoming reality? Leave a message in the comments, or on the facebook page, or the other facebook page, by twitter, or carrier pigeon.  I love hearing from you!


Posted in Nashville permalink

About Meredith

Jesus follower. Wife. Mom. Friend. Song writer. Musician. Teacher. Writer. I wear too many hats -- and it's not always great for my hair. But my life is filled with laughter and love, and music. I love hearing my boys' voices raised in song, I love leading worship in any capacity or setting. Life is beautiful.


When Obedience Looks Like Selfish Ambition — 1 Comment

  1. Oh, Meredith!! I can soooo identify with you! I absolutely love this post because it gets to the heart of what its all about… Being pulled from our comfort zones so that we can proclaim Him. This line: “He is pushing me… out of my introverted hermit-like comfort zone”, and “not crossing over into thinking its about me.” Because, really, if we didn’t do the things He’s asked us to do, we *would* be making it all about us, right? Thanks for sharing your heart! Keep shining and singing!! ;)

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