God is looking for men with ambition. He isn’t interested in the play-it-safe, stay-at-home types who refuse to take risks or get out of their comfort zones. Paul told his young disciple, Titus, that Jesus “gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14 ESV). The Greek word Paul used is zēlōtēs and it refers to “one burning with zeal, a zealot.” It speaks of eager desire for or vehement defense of something. It conveys high-energy, not passivity. It is an action word that carries the idea of passion manifesting itself in action.
In his letter to Timothy, another one of his disciples, Paul challenges his young protege to “train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:7 ESV). The word translated, “train” is the Greek word gumnazó and it is another action-filled word. It is the same Greek word from which we get our English word, gymnasium. It means “to train with one’s full effort, i.e. with complete physical, emotional force like when working out intensely in a gymnasium (©1987, 2011 by Helps Ministries, Inc.). Again, there is that idea of action, energy, effort and accomplishment. Paul’s idea of training for godliness almost wreaks with sweat. He is encouraging a determined kind of effort that produces real results. Of course, Paul is not suggesting that godliness is achievable on our own or the byproduct of mere human effort. He would strongly defend that godliness or the process of sanctification is as much the work of the Spirit as was our salvation. But we play a part. Whether we are zealously pursuing a life of good works or aggressively training ourselves for a life of godliness, we do so in partnership with God. There is a sense in which we are never satisfied, but are constantly striving for more in our Christian lives. Contentment should never be confused with a lack of drive or ambition. Paul was an ambitious, driven man, yet he had learned the secret of contentment. He said, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14 ESV). What is the thing he has not yet obtained? According to verse 10, it is “the power of his resurrection.” He went on to express his desire to “share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:10-11 ESV).
Paul was not yet perfect. He had not yet arrived. He was a man on the move, in transition, undergoing transformation. And he would not be satisfied until his transformation was complete and he had experienced the resurrection from the dead. In other words, he was going to keep on keeping on until his earthly body was transformed into its final heavenly form. “For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies. Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’” (1 Corinthians 15:43-44 NLT).
There is no pace for passivity within the Kingdom of God, especially among men of God. There is God’s work to do all around us. The Spirit has work to do within us. We must keep moving forward, allowing the Spirit to turn any spiritual momentum we experience into life-transforming power in our lives. God is on the move. His work is not yet done. He is actively involved in this world and He has chosen us to join Him in the fight. May we prove to be men on the move, constantly pushing forward the agenda of our God and spreading the message of His Son.