I used to be a high school teacher - I worked in some run down areas, it was always tough to motivate teenagers to make something of their life.
There were two different kinds of ambition that I came across. Both of them had serious problems but they were very different problems!
1. Play the System
15 year girl who wanted to get pregnant - just pregnant - doesn't want a husband/partner because they would be useless to have around anyway and they would get in the way of claiming benefits. When you probe a little deep you realise this young girl is pretty street wise. She has it all mapped out, the circumstance she needs to be in, fibs she needs to tell the government and actually she will end up with a fairly comfortable income. She knows what she wants and she has it all mapped out - in detail!
This girl may not have a particular noble ambition to play the system - but she is driven, she has plan - she'll probably achieve it.
2. Play Pro
15 boy who is magic on the football pitch - a real star of the team. Ask him what he wants to do with his life - simple, play professional football. Great! - Ambition! Drive! finally someone who wants to push themselves... until you probe. You ask, how are you going to work towards this? What teams are you playing for, what extra training are you doing? What skills are you working on?
The blank expression says it all. The blind faith in his natural talent tells him it will all just happen for him. This kid has a great goal, but no drive, he isn't ready to roll his sleeves up and do the hard yards. This kid needs a plan B.
But there is a third kind of Ambition, Peter talks about it in 2 Peter 3:11-16...
3. Roll your sleeves up to be Holy
It is possible to be like the girl who is driven and intentional about everything she does - but to forget about the God who made us.
It is possible to be like the boy who has the right dreams but is too lazy or naive to do the work necessary.
Being holy is a great ambition - a holy father or wife, a holy business man or cleaner, a holy farmer or lawyer. But being holy takes effort, we need to roll our sleeves up and make every effort.
We don't become holy by accident, we need to roll our sleeves up