How do you make God love you more?
If you are in Christ, having accepted God’s love in sending His Son to save you (John 3:16), then there is nothing you can do to make Him love you more (or less).
Many of you might say, “Yeah, I already know that.” But do you really believe it? It might make sense in your head, but do you live as if it were true?
For example, I grew up believing in God, but I had a hard time believing that God really loved me. I knew how sinful I was, and although I knew God forgave me, I thought He also must feel disappointed or annoyed that I would continue to make the same mistakes. I also anxiously wondered what God would want me to do with my life and how much it would take to please Him.
What I didn’t understand, but later learned, was that God’s love wasn’t based on my performance.
You Can’t Make God Love You More
God’s love is not conditional. It is not something that changes based on anything you do or don’t do.
You cannot do anything to make God love you more or less because:
- God is love. It’s not that God can love or does love; He is love (1 John 4:8). God = love. For Him to love you less would mean that He was somehow less God. It would mean that He had changed, and God never changes (Malachi 3:6).
- God loves you despite your sin. Jesus gave His life for ungodly sinners (Romans 5:6-8), not “good people” who deserved it. He loved you when you were dead in our trespasses (Ephesians 2:4-5) and had done nothing to deserve love. In the process, He demonstrated loving not by degrees or just a little bit, but with the greatest love there is (John 15:13).
- You cannot do anything to lose God’s love, because nothing in all creation can separate you from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39). God cannot be disappointed in you when you fail because He already knows what you are going to do (Psalm 139:4) and has chosen to love you anyway. Even when you mess up, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).
- You cannot do anything to earn God’s love. If you are saved, it is by grace, not by your own works (Ephesians 2:8-9). It is true that Christians are called to be good stewards of the gifts God has entrusted each person with (1 Peter 4:10). But He doesn’t love you only if you do good works. Nothing you do could ever “earn” anything from God, because everything you have came from Him. And God can accomplish anything He wants without your help (Isaiah 46:9-10). However, He does graciously let His people play a role in what He is doing. Your actions should be a response to His love, not an attempt to earn it (1 John 4:19).
Actions like serving, praying, reading the Bible, and obeying God’s commands (John 14:15) are good things that believers should do, partly because they are good for you. They just don’t change God’s love for you. They can help make you more Christlike, but they don’t make Christ like you more.
Why It Matters
The reason for talking about this is because a wrong view of God’s love will negatively affect your relationship with Him.
If you are trying to earn God’s love, you are not really abiding in His love (1 John 4:16). You may not fully experience the peace God offers (John 14:27).
If you believe God is disappointed in you or loves you less because of your sin, you likely won’t want to draw close to Him or confess your sins. You won’t have an ongoing, real relationship with Him.
God is not like a disapproving boss; He is your loving Father (1 John 3:1). And when describing a father in the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32), the father welcomed back his wayward, sinful son with open arms. The father didn’t love the hard-working older son more (or less). God loves you because you are His child, not because of what you do.
God loves you. He loves you so much that He sent His Son to die for you, so that you might have life (1 John 4:9-10). A right response would be to draw near to God (Hebrews 10:22) and rest in His love (Matthew 11:28-29).