Alabama is the top team in college football right now, but last Saturday they had a major test against a team that had beaten them two times in a row. Although they were down by three touchdowns to Ole Miss, the players rallied to overcome the deficit and win 48-43. 

It was fascinating to read the message Alabama head coach, Nick Saban, gave his team leading up to the game:

“I asked them if they liked football. Everybody raised their hand. I said, ‘How many of you love it? How many of you really love it?’ A lot of guys put their hands up. I said, ‘How many guys really love their teammates?’ Everybody put their hand up.

“I said, ‘You know, to overcome burdens, whether it’s in a marriage, in a job—people get all excited, ‘I’m going to get married. This is the woman of my dreams,’ and five years later, you can’t get along at all. You get a job and you say ‘This is the job that I’ve always wanted.’ Five years later, you’re punching a clock, putting in time.

“There’s a lot of different ways you can quit. I told the players, ‘If you can overcome the burden, if you really love, that’s how you overcome burdens.’ People who quit can’t overcome burdens. We’ll have burdens in this game and we have to overcome them.

“That was the message coming here. I said, ‘If you guys really loved each other, you’re going to be able to overcome whatever we have to.’ I never dreamed it would be like it was, but it turned out to be a pretty timely message, and the players responded to it.”

Wow, I’m amazed how the game played out in light of what was said beforehand. Coach Saban shared a lot of truth in his speech, and I think we can be especially encouraged when he said, “if you really love, that’s how you overcome burdens.”

Hearing a tough football coach talk about the importance of love might sound funny, but the reality is that love should be at the core of everything we do.

The Bible is filled with verses about love, but here are a few to inspire us today:

John 13:34-35 (ESV) says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Also, Colossians 3:14 (NLT) says, “Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.”

Finally, 1 John 4:7 (ESV) says, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.”

Every day we have to remind ourselves that God loves us and wants us to love Him and others. When we live with that mindset, burdens, brokenness, challenges, and differences can be worked out through the power of love.

As followers of Jesus, we don’t give up when things get tough. Instead, we continue to love. I’m Bryce Johnson and you can unpack that!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I don’t know why I forget how deep and powerful love really is. Help me to understand how much You love me, and in response to that, give me the strength to love others well. I pray I will overcome burdens with love. Thank you for the love that was shown on the cross. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.