Loving God Better in 2017

Not just half way. Not fingers crossed. Not looking over my shoulder—whistling in the dark, tiptoeing around fear, doubt and uncertainty into the New Year.

Instead, as 2017 begins, I propose this one thing.

Love God Better.

That’s what I wrote at the top of my 2017 Goal List. I scratched out “Be Pleasing to God.” Which isn’t a bad pursuit. As the Bible says, don’t neglect “to do good and share with those in need” for such sacrifices “please God” (Hebrews 13:16). Which matters for certain.

But as this New Year starts, and I focus on new life goals for 2017, I simply hear Jesus. He is saying:

Love God better.

That’s what He urged the questioning Pharisees. They dared ask of Christ which commandment is best. His answer rings down through the ages. The best law? It is this:

Love God. Better.

With all our hearts, souls and minds (Matthew 22:34-38). Then everything changes for the best. Our new year. Our plans. Our dreams. Our families. Our calling. Our answering. Everything we have. Everything He has to give us.

Want all that and more? In 2017?

Love Him better.

And what does that mean? Just three things:

  • Believe God More. Especially Who He is. Sovereign, powerful and right. How did David put it? How great thou art! “For there is none like you, and there is no God besides you” (2 Samuel 7: 22 ESV). If I just believe that, every year–and every tomorrow–will be its greatest.
  • Worry Less. Just rest in God. Stop trying to fix things. To prove myself worthy, great or best. Instead, let’s rest in Him. Then after resting, we can do this:
  • Love Others Right. Meaning just this: obey God’s commandment. How did the Lord say it?

“Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39-40). That’s the second law that He said matters most.

Just love folks. Red and yellow, black and white. They are precious in His sight.

Remember that song?

In 2017, I commit to sing it. To live it out, too. But first? Help me, Lord, to love You.

Patricia Raybon is an award-winning author of books and essays on mountain-moving faith.

For more inspiration, check out her pocket-sized devotional, Beautiful Blessings from God. Or consider the full-size version, covering the entire year—the One Year® God’s Great Blessings Devotional

To travel along on Patricia’s Faith Journey, sign up here.

All Scriptures quoted, unless noted otherwise, are the New Living Translation of the Holy Bible.

Photo Credit: m-gucci via iStockphoto

19 thoughts on “Loving God Better in 2017

    1. I appreciate your feedback very much, Elaine. Praying with you for God’s grace in 2017–especially as we seek to follow him. Many blessings!

        1. Encouragement, indeed. The word actually means to “inspire or impart courage to continue on a chosen course.” For this life’s journey, it’s something we all need! So thanks for commenting.

  1. Thank you Patricia. I am reeling today from being told I speak untruth and do no believe in God’s word – from a Christian woman on FB. She posted a poster that said addicted people just need to call on their power to get out of addiction. I went on and told her that although I appreciated what she was saying, there were many other facets, one being this is a disease that needs medical attention. I am afraid I know this as the child of an alcoholic mother who knew the Lord and an alcoholic father who also loved God. Unfortunately no matter how I phrased my response to her, she used capital letters and basically quoted Scripture telling me I am wrong and many other unpleasantries. She then unfriended me and blocked me. I realize many people think alcoholism, which we now are dealing with in a beloved family member, is treatable by willing sobriety. I told her I respected her opinion but that she had misjudged me. At any rate I do not want to be angry with her, so I have asked God to help me love her. But there is a lesson in this for me. I too sometimes go off on my own opinion, based on ??? I have in past made others feel less than or shamed and judged. I have done this before, honestly. But I also have enough years in recovery to realize that I cannot change another person and the only person I can change is me. I want to love God more and all people more, even when they disagree or judge me. I believe that is the way to keep from stepping into a ring to fight with others over disagreements or perhaps lack of education on one subject or another. But in my heart I want to write about this from a perspective of what I have done and learned about having a “numb tongue” – numb to the need to love instead of be right, numb to the fact that I could be wrong, numb to the fact that I just may need to inventory my own need to tell another how to be Christian. Will you join me my friend in praying that this piece will be helpful to others, like me, who have been hurt and who have hurt others? Also will you pray for my family member as he faces the life-threatening disease of alcoholism and jail time for DUI? You are one of the most powerful prayer warriors I know. Thank you for loving me.

    1. Dear Laura–I grieve with you for such hurtful words and actions from a fellow believer. Our witness for the Lord can be sweet or sour. If anyone deserves the sweet, it is you! I join you in praying for your family member struggling with the addiction of alcohol. May God’s healing light break through this burden with power, recovery and grace. Meantime, let’s keep believing. He is a Healer. Help us, Lord, to show your healing love to the world, even when they strike out to hurt. For Christ. Amen! Thank you, Laura. Sending love and hope today!

      1. Thank you. I have learned a new thing already this year. Standing in grief and gratitude at the same time. Grief because I truly hurt at the stinging words, but gratitude because I am given another opportunity to resist retaliation (don’t do that so well some days – black belt in tongue you see). And grateful for the love of my friends. I just got out my magazine from Dr. Stanley this month. Gonna read it tonight. Also, okay to share this post on FB? Needed for all of us now more than ever.


        1. Grief AND gratitude. Now, that speaks volumes. Thank you, Laura. And, yes, please feel free to share! Love, Patricia

  2. What a great purpose Love God Better. It reminds me of what God requires of us as stated in one of my favorite passages ,Micah 6:8. To be just, to love with mercy and to walk humbly with God. With the purpose to Love God Better I pray that I can give God all of my focus so I can be a better person , help others and keep faith while treveling this journey .
    Blesses to all in this year of 2017
    Catherine Evans

    1. Thanks so much, Dr. Catherine, for your reminder about Micah 6:8. Love better AND be better. Such timely wisdom for the New Year. Kindest thanks and blessings.

  3. Loving God better! I’m sure I can do this when I put my whole self into it which is what He wants from me. Wow the blessings that will pour out. Spending more time with Him, telling Him everything, going to Him for everything, not looking to anyone else. Imagine if every believer would live this way, what an impact on our lives and the lives of everyone we touch! We can do this.

    1. Yes, imagine! That’s exactly what I prayed for people reading these thoughts, Carolyn. Imagine letting God be sovereign and in charge. What a joy and a release. Praying that for you and your family, Carolyn, and for me and mine–and for especially for all in Christ. Bless us, O Lord, to seek only You!

    1. I’m on that same path, too, Murial. May you find blessings, wisdom and joy on your journey! Happy New Year!

  4. Patricia, thank you so much for your transparency and courage. I found you as I was desperately looking for some kind of help to handle my daughter’s decision to leave Christianity and convert to Judaism. The decision is just breathtaking to me, and truly, I can’t even imagine how we will go ahead as a family. The future seems impossibly painful and bleak.

    I’m grateful for your resolutions, and for today at least, I’ll be holding on to those ideas: to believe God more, worry less, and then look for how I can love others.

    Does the pain EVER get better? How can you possibly function in a relationship with a daughter who you know feels that your deepest core is false?

    1. Dear Margie — First, thanks for connecting. I hear and feel your pain, and I can relate to it totally. A parent’s greatest desire is to pass on our deepest values and beliefs to their children. When those children reject our core beliefs, the impact is devastating. You feel like a failure. The grief, meantime, feels like a death has occurred–and, in many ways, it has: the death of a dream that it would all be different. It’s life-shifting. I cried for years, probably experiencing depression, although I didn’t call it that.

      I explored all of this at length recently on Discover the Word, in a five-day series called “Lavishing Your Prodigal With Love.” The response was extraordinary. (A lot of parents are hurting.) Each day’s recording is only about 10 minutes or so. You can find them all at https://discovertheword.org/?s=Patricia+Raybon Margie, in addition, my daughter and I co-authored a book to explore exactly what happened and how we can move on. It’s called Undivided: A Muslim Daughter, Her Christian Mother, Their Path to Peace — available on Amazon and other book outlets.

      Finally, meantime, to your question: does the pain EVER get better? YES. It absolutely does. I learned that, when I turned my attention from the mountain–and to the Mountain Mover–HE moves the mountain, along with the deep hurt. I pray you’ll listen at Discover the Word to learn more about what I discovered, how my daughter Alana and I moved over this big wall, and how GOD is sovereign, bigger, Healer and Mighty Friend. This is a long answer, but I pray it feels helpful. If you have other questions, feel free to reach out! Peace and love today, Patricia

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