Our love for God is directly related to our perception of His love for us, not simply what we've been taught but what we truly believe deep in our hearts. “for it is with your heart that you believe... (Romans 10:10).” Scripture clearly says, “We love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).”
I believe there are two reasons for a lukewarm love for God:.
1. Too many false professions of faith. “Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord' will enter the kingdom of heaven but only those who do the will of My father in heaven... (Matthew 7:21-23)”
2. Too low a view of the love/grace and holiness of God. “...he who is forgiven little loves little. (Luke 7:47)” I don't think that being forgiven little has to do with someone who has sinned little for though some do sin much more and graver sins than others we've all still sinned plenty. No, I expect that someone is only ever forgiven little for confessing little – that is, only acknowledging a little sin in their life and so only receiving a little bit of God's grace due to a shallow view of God's holiness and downplaying the seriousness of sin. Those who see the awesome holiness of God know themselves to be “the worst of sinners” apart from God's grace and forgiveness. It is these then who receive the fullness of God's grace and thus respond to Him by loving much. The pharisee in this parable was no less of a sinner than the woman he sat judging but she, in acknowledging and repenting of her sin, received grace and forgiveness while the pharisee did not. You also see this in a story Jesus told of the pharisee and the tax collector (Luke 18:9-14).
The more our love for God matures, the more it expands as our desire for Him broadens to include a desire for His desires. This expanded love for God can only come from a higher vision of God. We will serve God better when we love Him better, we will love Him better when we trust Him better, we will trust Him better when we know Him better – by prayer, the Word, and personal experience.
Closeness to God can only come through taking up our cross – that is dieing to this world and to ourselves which have been corrupted. We need to come closer to His cross to come closer to Him. Paul said, “I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings becoming like Him in His death. (Philippians 3:10)”. There is a closeness to God that we only find by sharing in His sufferings. May we ache for the unity that is being crucified with Christ. We must turn our eyes to His cross and let it penetrate our hearts and souls. May we truly count everything as trash compared to the glory Christ will reveal in us – His very own glory shining in and through us.