Last night, Houston Rockets’ guard, James Harden, scored 38 points, 12 rebounds, and 12 assists. He put up his 15th triple-double of the season, heading into the All-Star break as one of the leading candidates for the MVP award. 

The Rockets are currently the third best team in the western conference, and Harden has helped propel the team to a new level. However, last season was disappointing for Harden and the Rockets, and changes needed to be made. 

Harden realized he wasn’t reaching his full potential or thriving as an all-around player, and recently admitted the problem in an interview with ESPN’s Hannah Storm: “I wasn’t giving the game the love I needed to be, the passion I needed to have.” 

There’s no question that the greatest athletes in sports have a true love and passion for “the game” they play. That strong passion drives them to work hard, improve, commit, and consistently do what needs to be done. Their love and passion are evident every time they step on the court. 

When considering our own lives, we too, need to give “the game” the love and passion that are needed. This means loving our family and friends with compassion and sacrifice…and bringing a passion to our jobs, so we are making a real difference and having a significant impact. 

Even more importantly, when we think about our relationship with God, are we giving Him all of the passion and love He deserves? Is our love and passion for Him leading to a grace-filled and obedient life?

When we desire to make changes in our lives, do we first begin with our love and passion for Him? Do love and passion drive our lives, so there is evidence to those who are watching? 

Jesus put an emphasis on the two greatest commandments, which are both centered on love. He says in Mark 12:30-31 (ESV), “‘And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 

James Harden made changes to his approach in playing basketball by unlocking his love and passion for “the game.” Today, let’s keep in mind that God wants to unlock the same in us…to have great passion and love for Him and others.  I’m Bryce Johnson and  you can unpack that!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I desire to love You with everything I have. I pray that You would give me a passion to live for You with a deep love for others. Please show me the areas of my life where I’m not filled with love and passion, and do Your work to change my heart. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.