Grace-based Ambition


Have you ever had one of those days where you accomplished far less then you intended? Perhaps you got distracted or just forgot about something you needed to do. Over the years I have come to really appreciate the reminder, calendar, and notes apps on my phone. They help me to stay organized and to remember things like anniversaries, due dates, birthdays, grocery lists, etc. Reminders have the ability to lead us back to the things that are most important. They help us to stay focused and to accomplish more. In today’s passage, the Apostle Paul gives his readers an important reminder about his motivation and philosophy for ministry.   

  • What are some motivations in your life that impact the way you live?


14 I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. 15 But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God 16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. 17 In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God. 18 For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed, 19 by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ; 20 and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, 21 but as it is written,

“Those who have never been told of him will see,

and those who have never heard will understand.”

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. What was Paul’s view of the Romans, and why did he write to them?
  2. What was it that motivated Paul’s ministry to the Gentiles?  What was his goal?  
  3. What was Paul’s view of himself and how did that change the way he lived?
  4. Paul found it critical to remind the Romans of the basics of the gospel. How would being reminded of the gospel today impact your attitude, perspective, and behavior?
  5. Paul’s only ambition was to preach the message of Christ for the good of others. Who is God inviting you to proclaim the gospel to? What keeps you from doing so? What’s your next step?


Paul’s understanding of God’s grace impacted every aspect of his life. After his conversion the direction and purpose of his life changed drastically, and now we have the opportunity to read about what God accomplished through him. When considering all that Paul accomplished in his life, it is interesting to note that anything worthy of praise had God’s grace as its source, Jesus as its motivation, and the Holy Spirit as its energy. When we forget the gospel, our lives become self-centered and our ambition becomes comfort and happiness. Let us be reminded of what matters most: the gospel.

  • Ask God to help you to remember your role as a believer: to love God and to love people.
  • Ask God to make his ambitions your ambitions.
  • Ask God for opportunities to preach the gospel with words and deeds.