I Love Jesus. I Want To Love Him More. Here’s What I Do

I love Jesus, and so do you. But don’t you want to love Jesus more?

What kind of a question is that? No, Mark, I love Jesus but want to love him less. And I want less joy in my life. And while we’re at it I’d like fewer blessings.

Often, my love for Jesus feels even weaker than my love for opera (no offense opera lovers). I’m sure it’s my ignorance and lack of ability to appreciate the glories of people dressing up like Vikings and singing in Italian.

Wait a minute! I’m just kidding. Don’t fill up the comments section with rebukes. I know opera isn’t really about people dressing up like Vikings and singing in Italian. Opera is about pinball wizards, like in “Tommy” by The Who.

The Critical Importance Of Loving Jesus

Ever try to light a match on a windy day? Even though I love Jesus, sometimes my love for Jesus feels about as strong as a match flame in a hurricane. I’m not happy about my weak love for Jesus. I take seriously Jesus’ warning to the church of Laodicea about being lukewarm.

“And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.

“‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. (Revelation 3:14-19)

These words to the church of Laodicea are sobering. We in America live in a prosperous nation. Compared to much of the world, we have prospered materially. But we never want to forget how needy we are spiritually.

We always need the Lord to fill us with love for him and to keep us from the love of the world. We need Jesus to continually fill us with passion for him and his kingdom.

Jesus said in Luke 10:27:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

I don’t know about you, but I desperately need God’s help to love him in this way. Because I am so easily distracted, I’m so easily drawn to love other things. There are many times when I love Jesus, but not to the degree I desire.

I want to love the Lord my God with ALL my heart and soul and strength and mind, but I need him to help me.

And the good news is, Jesus does not command his people to do anything that he will not give them the grace to do if they ask him.

So ask Jesus to give you more love for him. Ask Jesus to help you delight in him and enjoy him and make him your treasure above all other things.

And do not let the weakness of your love for Jesus cause you to despair. For any genuine love for Jesus, even if it’s as small as a mustard seed, is proof that one is born again. Unbelievers don’t love Jesus and don’t care that they don’t love Jesus. Only genuine believers love Jesus and desire to love Jesus more.

My Desire To Love Jesus Pleases God

What wife wouldn’t be blessed if her husband said, “Honey, I’m not content with how much I love you. I love you, but I want to love you so much more.”

The desire to love Jesus more says we recognize he is worthy of our all. That his infinite glory demands infinite love, praise, and worship. That our love for him doesn’t match his worthiness to be loved.

A toddler can’t possibly love her mother the way she should or appreciate all the ways her mother loves her and cares for her. Yet when that child says, “Mommy I love you” that child’s imperfect love brings joy to her mom.

So it is with us. When we come to our heavenly Father and tell him we love him, even though we can’t ever fathom his infinitely glory and beauty and majesty, it brings him joy.

Most of us know we’re pretty poor servants of Jesus. We’re just earthen vessels that easily break. We often muddle and stumble along as best we can, like little kids who make a bigger mess trying to help than if the parents had just done it themselves. (How many times has Jesus had to clean up after me). Yet somehow even our feeble, flawed love for him brings a smile to his face.

I’m so grateful Christ bled on the cross for all the imperfections of my bungling love and halting, feeble affection. And grateful that even my match-flame of desire delights him, because he’s the one who lit that fire in my heart, no matter how small it seems.

If I Love Jesus and Want To Love Him More…It Changes My Focus

Instead of focusing on my lack of love for Jesus, I focus on his love for me.

We love because he first loved us (1 John 4:19).

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are…(1 John 3:1)

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:37-39)

The best way to start your day is to call to mind his love for you:

But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness (Lamentations 3:21-23)

So let us focus on God’s incredible love for us, and ask him to keep fanning the flame of our love for him. Here is my hope. I don’t love Jesus as much as I should, but I will. Increasingly. For all eternity.

If I Want To Love Jesus, Remember The Depth of My Forgiveness

In Luke 7 a woman of ill repute shows up at a meal Jesus is attending in a Pharisee’s home. She breaks open a flask of expensive ointment, then, weeping over Jesus’ feet, wipes them with her hair and anoints them with the oil.

The Pharisee, named Simon, most likely disgusted that Jesus would let this unclean woman touch him, thinks if Jesus were a prophet he’d know the kind of woman this is and have nothing to do with her. Jesus tells him:

“A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” (41-43)

Then after mentioning Simon’s lack of courtesies – he didn’t wash Jesus’ feet, welcome him with a kiss or anoint his head with oil – he pointed out how the woman washed his feet with her tears, kissed his feet and anointed them with oil. Then he delivers the punch line:

“Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little. (47)

Before he saved me, Jesus let me sink into a self-made miry pit of sin, selfishness, and misery. I couldn’t get out and couldn’t stop sinning. God is sovereign. He could have kept me from sinning. But he allows us to plunge deeply into sin.  One of the reasons is so that when he does rescue us, we’re far more amazed and grateful than if we’d never sinned.

The same thing happens even after God saves us. He could keep us from ever sinning again. He could deliver us instantaneously from all pride and anger and self-centeredness. But he allows us to fall and struggle at times so we’ll have a fresh appreciation of his grace, forgiveness and love. And as a result, we will love him all the more.

John Newton said:

you love jesus

Have you blown it repeatedly? Messed up so many times you can’t recall? If you haven’t turned to Jesus yet, do so today! He paid for every one of your sins on the cross and freely forgives all who call upon him in faith to save them. He’ll cleanse you of your every sin, and in turn you’ll love him much.

Maybe you’ve believed for years, yet you’re discouraged in your struggle with sin. Remember, Jesus paid for all your sins long before he saved you. Ask him for forgiveness and he’ll forgive you and cleanse you of all unrighteousness. Not because you deserve it, but because he loves you. And you too will love much because you’ve been forgiven much.

I don’t advocate continual, morose, Eeyore-like dwelling upon our sins. But I DO advocate contemplating how much Jesus has forgiven us, because the more we realize the height and width and breadth and depth of Jesus’ forgiveness, the more we will love him.

The secret to loving God much: contemplate the immeasurable debt Jesus paid for you and how vast is his mercy and grace to you.

I’m a pastor at Saving Grace Church in Indiana, PA. I’m married to Kristi, have 5 kids, and a growing number of grandkids. I enjoy songwriting, oil painting and coffee, not necessarily in that order.

39 thoughts on “I Love Jesus. I Want To Love Him More. Here’s What I Do”

  1. Ah, Mark, you are reminding me that we had some great friends from Indiana, PA … the Slanskys … I think we lost track of them years ago, but nice people. And, yes, love what you’re saying in your article. The turning point of my Christian life was an afternoon and evening I spent with Roy Hession, author of the Calvary Road. I was disillusioned with Christianity after graduating from Bible College and not finding the magic I hoped for in what I thought was the cream of the crop. Then Roy spoke on John 21: The disciple who loved Jesus, and the disciple whom Jesus loved. It started me on a whole different journey with God, where it wasn’t about my performance, it was about God’s work in me. Huge difference. Anyway, thanks, and be blessed!

    • I loved your honesty about the difficulty of staying in that place of loving Jesus above all other loves continuously. Your deep love for Jesus is evident, my friend, and as you said, it is the many distractions that cause problems. All I can say to you, my brother in Christ is this. When I met the Lord Jesus and He saved me, I fell so deeply in love with Him. To think that He could love a sinner like me, unconditionally, and keep me all my life, yes, even with all my failures and weaknesses. It just causes me to love Him more and more. I am so unworthy of His love for me, but I receive it gratefully with a heart that is so satisfied in His never ending love. I just ask My Lord to fill me with His Holy Spirit and His Holy love, continuously, to overflowing, and by faith receive His love and grace. My hearts desire, my friend, is, truly, that Jesus is my first love and my greatest love, and I want to live in His love all day long as I abide and remain in His love. I am a simple old man now, but I have discovered this is the only place I want to be, daily, abiding in His love. If I, a simple old man by faith, receives His love, so freely, you can enjoy that sweet, intimate loving relationship with Jesus Christ, as can any believer…It’s His love for me that makes me love Him so much! God bless you, my friend, and thank you for sharing your heart with us.

  2. Thank you, Mark, for this special icing on the many delicious cakes that you have served. At 75 years of age I can say truly from my heart I do want to love JESUS even more. As a retired pastor, I now have a much more important Ministry, that of prayer. And I will continue to pray for you and your family because your writings truly inspire us to serve the LORD better on this Earth while there is still time. Again thank you!

  3. I’m not sure how I got connected with you. But, I appreciate your comments and the responses to them. I just spent more than half the day at the “God Belongs in My City” prayer walk in Jacksonville FL and talking to a friend about the Lord. I am always amazed at how He weaves our lives together to help us grow in love with Him and to build His Kingdom. At the prayer walk I ran into 6 people I was surprised to see and had significant conversations with all of them. I think the Lord is using all of those conversations & the experiences we discussed to help each of us to see His love more clearly and help grow our love for Him too. I appreciate Dwight’s comment “…it wasn’t about my performance, it was about God’s work in me. Huge difference.” Meditating on that made me think its also about my response to God’s work in me.
    Grace & peace,

    • Hi Gary, that is so cool that you did that prayer walk and got to talk with all those people. Yes, it is about God’s work in us and as you said, our response to his work. Thanks for adding your comments!

  4. This article was just what I needed. I had been telling God that I felt I didn’t love him as I should, that I didn’t fully appreciate all he had done for me. Thank you for clarifying this for me.

  5. HI Mark,
    I stumbled upon your article, actually Im sure it was God directed. I am a servant of Jesus Christ. I publish a small town newspaper, that slants to Jesus. Your article made me realize how great Jesus is, his forgivness, especially when we make such a mess of our lives, failed marriage sexual sins, pornography and the list goes on. Jesus continues to forgives, not only that but still has a future for us (me). I often live in the depths of woe is me. Thankyou for shedding the light on how much Jesus loves us and wants to heal us but also to build us up to tell our story to tell someone else. After all didn’t Jesus use imperfect people? Thanks I look reading more from you.

  6. Thank you so much for this refreshing word and for reminding me of God’s infinite love he has for me despite of all my imperfections! Many blessings too you and your family Pastor Altrogge.

  7. Thank you Jesus for loving me. I love you more Jesus. I am always asking the Lord to inflame my heart with love and passion for Him everyday.

    Thank you pastor for this article.

  8. Mark,
    Thank you for taking the time to clearly communicate how love works. I desire to grow in my love for Jesus day by day! Along the way I have hit many bumps, the grace of God had met me every time!

  9. Thanks so much pastor mark! I’ve been stuck for a while always feeling i love the lord less.. But your article cuts me deep! From nigeria

  10. Thank you Pastor. I am from Madagascar, and all I can say is that what you just wrote down here is the answer to my prayer. I am just amazed how the Holy Spirit guided my hand to make me see this. I pray for you that you will Always be guided by the Holy Ghost and that your work will always produce good fruits. Today, you touched the very soul of a child of God living miles away from where you are. Every single word you write here expresses my thought and every answer you bring here satisfies my spiritual thirst. So, Thank you. And I pray for you that our Lord Jesus keeps you under His grace all your life.

  11. Mark, that is just exactly what my heart needed today. Thank you so for writing it down. I am sad we live so far apart. I bet we would be good friends.

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  13. As I meditated on John 14:23-24 today I felt discouraged. Thank you so much for your encouraging words. All is grace and His great love for us.


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