A Christian’s Ambition

Text: 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

Ambition is what drives one to continue progressing, advancing, and improving. Generally, it is necessary if one is to enjoy any degree of success or prosperity. Christians are to be ambitious – but the focus of our ambitions will differ from the world.

Lead a Quiet Life

  • Thayer’s definition of a “quiet life” – “said of those who are not running hither and thither, but stay at home and mind their business”
  • Term is used in the NT to describe one’s work (2 Thessalonians 3:12) and a woman’s disposition (1 Timothy 2:12; 1 Peter 3:4)
  • How Christians can “lead a quiet life” – do not allow the world to distract you from your service to God (2 Thessalonians 3:12; cf. Luke 8:14-15); remember your place/role (1 Timothy 2:12; cf. 2 Timothy 2:3-4)

Attend to Your Own Business

  • Mind your own business – do what you are responsible to do without regard to others
  • This does not mean we ignore the needs of others – physical (Galatians 6:10) or spiritual (Galatians 6:1); but we cannot focus on the faults of others and ignore our own (Matthew 7:1-5)
  • We cannot be busybodies (2 Thessalonians 3:11; Proverbs 26:17) – difference between concern/help and meddling

Work with Your Hands

  • God expects His people who are able to work to do so (2 Thessalonians 3:6-10)
  • We are to be diligent in our labor (Colossians 3:23; Ecclesiastes 9:10)
  • We must put spiritual things first (Matthew 6:19-21, 31-34) – but we cannot ignore our earthly responsibilities (1 Timothy 5:8)

Follow the Lord’s Commandments

  • Paul said, “Just as we commanded you” – specifically talking about the preceding instructions; however, in principle this applies to our obedience to all that has been commanded in God’s word
  • We are to obey the Lord (Luke 6:46) – we must also obey the apostles’ words (1 Thessalonians 4:2; 1 Corinthians 14:37)
  • We must be “doers of the word” (James 1:22)

Behave Properly Toward Outsiders

  • We must lead a quiet life and attend to our own business – but we cannot ignore the world around us
  • We must be good examples (1 Peter 2:12)
  • Failure to do this will cause others to speak evil of God, the church, and the word (Romans 2:24; Titus 2:6-8; 2 Corinthians 6:3)

Not Be in Any Need

  • Worldly ambition seeks an abundance of wealth, success, influence, etc. – we strive to not be in need
  • This doesn’t mean we do the minimum to get by (Ephesians 4:28; 2 Corinthians 12:14; Ecclesiastes 11:6) – but our goal is not simply the accumulation of wealth; instead, understand that prosperity gives us the freedom/ability to do more good (1 Timothy 6:17-19)
  • But if we do find ourselves in need, we must be content (Philippians 4:11-13)


  • There is nothing wrong with being successful/prosperous – but our primary ambition as Christians must be directed toward the things that Paul mentioned
  • Let us be sure our priorities are in order so that our ambitions may be focused on the things of God

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