On Sunday, I watched Lebron James complete his decimation of the Golden State Warriors. He was a terror during the last three games in particular. Whatever your opinion of James, he was ferocious.
41 points in both games five and six.
A triple double in game seven.
Never has a teams come back from being down 3-1 in the NBA Finals.
And all that against a Warriors team that had the best regular season record in NBA history.
Sports writer Bill Simmons has a term for this: the Alpha Dog. Michael Jordan had it. Larry Bird had it. Lebron has it. At the right time, in the biggest moments, they simply take over. Go for the kill. Slay the opponent. The Alpha Dog asserts dominance.
Is there a place for the Alpha Dog in the Christian faith?
I think so. Too often Christians are perceived as soft. The "nice guys." Ned Flanders from the Simpsons. Yes, we exhibit tender qualities such as love, peace, and patience (Gal. 5:22). God has a compassionate side.
But God also has an Alpha Dog side. And so do his people. Fierce, strong, assertive, courageous, risk-taking. Without being arrogant, crude, or conceited.
Paul instructed Timothy to throw some punches. "Fight the good fight of faith." (I Tim. 6:12) He encouraged the Corinthians to boldness in the face of crisis and controversy. "Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong." (I Cor. 16:13)
David trash-talked a giant. "This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head . . . For the battle is the Lord's, and he will give you into our hand." (I Sam. 17:46,47). What keeps the Alpha Dog from being arrogant is that his confidence is in "the LORD," not his own strength or skill.
Zeal for God's house consumed Jesus when he flipped merchant tables in the temple courts (John 2:17). Of course, his crucifixion and resurrection were his greatest Alpha Dog moments. Staring down death through sweat and blood. Punching death in the mouth by his resurrection life.
Are there places in your life where you need to be an Alpha Dog? Is there a vital task that needs to be done? Someone who needs to be served? A word that needs to be spoken? Not for glory or profit, but for God and for others.
Christians have a ferocity of faith, but not in their own muscle or capability. No, we boast in the Lord (I Cor. 1:31). The King of Kings, the Lion of Judah, the Alpha and Omega.