Here is an excerpt from Charles Spurgeon’s sermon, “The Secret of Loving God”. The whole sermon is available online in audio and transcript.
We love God, not because we felt that we ought to love him, but “because he first loved us.” A sense of duty is a very proper thing concerning many matters, and I don’t deny that it is our duty to love God with all our heart, and mind, and soul, and strength, for this is the very essence of the law of the Lord; but no man ever does love as a mere matter of duty. You love even an earthly object because you cannot help yourself, and you love God because he is infinitely lovely, and because he has so completely won your heart as to engross your whole affection. Because he first loved us, and that love of his has been shed abroad in our hearts, we have loved him in return as a matter of course; we could not help doing so. The mighty depths of his immeasurable love, high up on the eternal hills, flow down into the inmost recesses of our empty hearts; and when, afterwards, a fountain of love is seen springing up out of them, the secret of its action is to be traced to that great reservoir way up on the everlasting hills.
“Found guilty of an excess of love,” our Savior was put to death that he might redeem us. He could lose his life for us, but he could not lose his love to us. O mighty force! Then, don’t you see, my brothers and sisters, if there is such a force as this to draw upon, that the love of God, when it is poured out in our hearts, can give our love a greater force than it has ever had? With that greater force, there can be put into our lives an energy which we have never known. It is possible for us to rise to something far higher than we ever have in our past; we can do something more than we have ever dreamed of doing; and God can use us to perform nobler deeds of self-denial, to rise to greater heights of daring, and to stoop to deeper depths of humiliation than we have ever done before.
Oh, strong Son of God, nothing could stop your immortal love: neither pain, nor grief, nor bloody sweat, nor death itself, could stop you; and, by your sacred passion, we implore you to let your love drop into our souls till we too shall become strong, like yourself, according to our measure, and shall be able to contend for you, to suffer for you, to live for you, and to die for you, all the while giving this as the explanation of it all, “We love because he first loved us”! God bless you, beloved, for Christ’s sake! Amen