Today I’d like to write to you about the grave dangers of self-ambition and how the road it puts the believer on is a path to apostasy and destruction.
I do not believe it to be a stretch for us to consider that self-ambition may have played a significant part in the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Prayerfully consider Genesis 3:5, which reads:
“For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof…” – Genesis 3:5a
Here we see the serpent tempting Eve. We know that ‘eating thereof’ would bring about the Fall, and with it sin and death. However, the temptation to sin and commission thereof always comes with a false promise. This false promise is often one of gratification or satiation and is predicated on something man is predisposed to: covetousness. Why do we desire that which we do not have? Our flesh is a king maker. We were designed to worship and glorify God. However, seeking to make ourselves gods unto ourselves after the Fall, we now seek to worship and glorify ourselves. The product of this is pride. Pride manifests itself in many ways, one of which is when we tell ourselves ‘I deserve better’. Let us now return to the verse and inspect the false promise in Genesis 3:5 and see if we can find what was so tempting about the promise that the serpent made to Eve.
“then your eyes shall be opened…” – Genesis 3:5b
A god who is not all seeing is no god at all. We implicitly recognize this deficiency in ourselves and covet any opportunity to resolve this cognitive dissonance. This is probably one of the facets we find so attractive about the pursuit of gnosis, despite what Deuteronomy 29:29 says about secret things. Let’s continue.
“and ye shall be as gods…” – Genesis 3:5c
Finally, we arrive at the promise. After the Fall, our natures were fundamentally changed. In our flesh, sinning comes naturally to us. This was not always the case. Before the Fall, we did not disobey simply for the sake of disobedience. We were not predisposed toward sin, even in our flesh. There had to be something to tempt us to sin, not simply someone. This makes the original sin all the more fascinating as in many ways it represents a genuine choice made by our earliest ancestors who were in every sense better equipped to resist Satan than we, in our flesh, are today. The next two parts of this verse in Genesis 3:5 offer us some insight into what it was.
“… knowing good and evil.” – Genesis 3:5d
Similarly, a god who is not an all knowing god is no god at all. We also recognize this deficiency in ourselves and covet any opportunity to resolve this cognitive dissonance. Here, this false promise offers to resolve the two greatest temporal deficiencies between God and ourselves. While Adam and Eve knew there would be consequences for breaking this rule and eating of this fruit, it is reasonable to assume that they became victims of the law of unintended consequences as well, as they were initially only told that they would surely die. There is no mention of how their descendants would suffer from the original sin for millenia to come as a result of their decision to eat of the fruit of this tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
As it pertains to the believer’s ability to not fall for what is literally the oldest trick in the book, we must rely on God’s grace and pray in all things. In addition, God’s Word is not silent on this topic. We know that all scripture is God-breathed and profitable. Let us prayerfully consider the solution prescribed in God’s Word as written in the Book of Jeremiah:
“And seekest thou great things for thyself? Seek them not;” – Jeremiah 45:5a
This advice runs counter to everything the world, your friends and family will tell you today. This should come as no surprise. We know that the foolishness of God is wiser than men.
Additional verses regarding self-ambition, including its danger and its fruit, include James 3:14, James 3:16, Philippians 1:16-17, Philippians 2:3, 1 Thessalonians 4:11, Galatians 5:20, 2 Corinthians 5:9, 2 Corinthians 12:20, Romans 2:8 and Proverbs 11:6.
Choose this day whom you will listen to and serve.