We are commanded to love the Lord with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength (Matt. 22.37). And yet we find it hard to love God more than our own desires and the tangible people and things around us. What is the secret to loving God more? The answer is found in Luke 7.36-50 where a woman shows great love for Jesus by pouring expensive oil on his feet, washing his feet while she wept. Some present were repulsed because she was a woman of ill repute. Jesus used the moment as a teaching lesson, sharing a story about two debtors who were forgiven their debts, one more than the other.
When they could not pay, he canceled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he canceled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” (Luke 7.42-43)
Jesus goes on to say that the woman loved much because she was forgiven much, and then states this truth in the opposite form: But he who is forgiven little, loves little (Luke 7.47b).
The secret to growing in your love for God is to grow in your understanding and appreciation for how much God has forgiven you.
What, after all, is the great secret of loving Christ? It is an inward sense of having received from Him pardon and forgiveness of sins. Those love much who feel much forgiven. He who has come to Christ with his sins, and tasted the blessedness of free and full absolution, he is the man whose heart will be full of love towards his Savior. The more we realize that Christ has suffered for us, and paid our debt to God, and that we are washed and justified through His blood, the more we shall love Him for having loved us, and given Himself for us.” – J. C. Ryle