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This summer we unexpectedly lost our little 10-year-old golden retriever, which about broke my heart. Like any respectable animal lover, I decided I needed to get a new dog, so I drove to Asheville, NC to get a beautiful German Shepherd puppy. As you can imagine, puppies require much training. Fortunately for me, all three of my sisters had adopted puppies within the last three years, so they all offered plenty of advice. One sister introduced me to a dog trainer called Doggie Dan. She said I absolutely needed to get his help if I wanted a good dog. So, I gave him a try.

He explained that, in the wild, dogs live in packs with an alpha male and an alpha female. All the other dogs in the pack live under their care and authority. The only time there are issues is when the other dogs fight for the alpha position, which can be more common than you might think because dogs naturally want to be the alpha of their world.

Apparently, domesticated dogs also have the alpha instinct, so in order for your dog to function well in your family, without behavioral issues and bad habits, your dog needs to know you are the alpha. You do this by teaching the dog that nothing is about him. You make the decisions! You control the food! You make all the rules! You care for his needs, and he learns to be content and feel safe and loved. If your dog thinks he’s the alpha, he will develop any number of bad habits as he endeavors to control his environment. Only when he learns that he isn’t the alpha and that life doesn’t revolve around him being in control will he be a good dog.

We can learn a lot from this example. We, too, have the tendency to want to be the alpha of our world. We want to call the shots. We want to be in charge—to control our circumstances.

If we have been Christians for any length of time, we have likely been taught that we are not in control, and we should not seek to be in control because we are servants of Christ and are called to do His will. When we, like the dogs in the pack, strive to become the alpha of our world it causes problems. It harms relationships, causes anxiety, anger, jealousy, or any other host of sinful responses in our lives.

There is one area where we can tend to want control that perhaps we don’t ordinarily consider. We can tend to want to be the alpha in our approach to Scripture.  We want to get from Scripture what pleases us or what gratifies our desires. As a result, our agenda shapes our understanding and application of Scripture, twisting it to suit our selfish desires. The danger in the alpha approach to Scripture is that we fail to humble ourselves under its authority, and though we may study it and know it intellectually, we aren’t being changed by it.

As we approach God’s Word, we need to keep in mind what the overall purpose of Scripture is, which is God’s historical documentation of the redemption of humanity through Jesus Christ who is the main character.

As we consider the importance of properly applying Scripture to our lives, we need to first understand that Scripture isn’t about us. It is about Jesus Christ. It’s about His humility, His incarnation, His glory, and His offer of redemption to mankind. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords. He is worthy of our worship, our adoration, our obedience, and our humble submission to his will.

I am not the alpha. I don’t get to call the shots. In reality, I’m a mess, and I need help. I need to be rescued. I shouldn’t be in control of anything. Instead, I need to figure out how my little insignificant self fits into the overarching theme of Scripture, which all focuses on the person and purpose of Jesus Christ.

Why do we think we ought to have control? Why do we think our ideas and preferences and desires are best? We think they are best because the object of our worship is not Jesus Christ. We think they are best because the object of our worship is self. You see, as sinful people, our tendency is always to dethrone Christ. And if King Jesus does not reign on the throne of our hearts, then who does? I do! Self! Me!

In short: It’s NOT about Me! Jesus is first mentioned in Gen 3 at the Fall, but we know from various other passages that He was present at creation. And not only that, the entire universe was brought forth through Him. All of the OT points to the Messiah who would come to redeem mankind. The beautiful gospels describe the earthly life of Jesus, and the rest of the NT points back to Him as the only redeemer for sinful people.

We cannot approach Scripture with our own agenda, trying to find a nugget of help for this one thing or a tidbit of truth for that one issue. We must know the entirety of Scripture, what its purpose is, and Who it is about. It’s all about King Jesus and ALWAYS our goal should be to discover how we fit into His plan and His purpose. If we approach it the other way around, trying to fit Christ into our agenda, our lives will remain unchanged.

This fact always remains one of my greatest concerns. Will I read and hear God’s Word regularly and remain unchanged. I don’t know your heart, or your wrestles, heartaches, or temptations to sin, but I ask you this: Do you hear God’s Word regularly and remain unchanged? I have had to wrestle through this question as difficult things have occurred in my life. I know what to do, but am I doing it? I know what Scripture says, but am I obeying it? I know I am not the alpha, but am I still fighting for control?

The purpose of my life is to worship the only One who has been given a name that is above every name, the One to whom every knee will one day bow. My joyful duty is to worship Him whose rank surpasses all things, who died for sin and conquered it through the resurrection. My life exists to worship Him who reconciled me to God the Father—whose name is called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

Only as we view our lives in the context of His majesty and glory will we correctly understand the Scriptures and learn to apply it to our lives in a way that brings lasting change.

Are you different today than you were a year ago? Can you see growth in your life over the course of the last several years? If your answer is yes, rejoice that God is at work, and He is teaching you to worship King Jesus more than self. If you don’t see much change, then repent and get to work dethroning self by approaching Scripture with its intended purpose of worshipping Jesus through obedience to the overall message of His Word.

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