How can I feel closer to Jesus and feel that I love Him?
Sounds like you would like to be Jesus’ friend. Friendship is something we all want. We desire to love and share our feelings, experiences, and time with other people. Friendship is something that is shared between two people. It is a wonderful, emotional experience to have a sense of being valued.
One Old Testament saint, Abraham, is called the friend of God.
Didst Thou not, O our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before Thy people Israel, and give it to the descendants of Abraham Thy friend forever? (NASB) 2 Chronicles 20:7
But you, Israel, My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, Descendant of Abraham My friend . . . (NASB) Isaiah 41:8
. . . the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS,” and he was called the friend of God. (NASB) James 2:23
Abraham believed God. He talked with God and he understood God (Genesis 18).
Moses is another Old Testament saint that had a close relationship with God.
Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend . . . (NASB) Exodus 33:11
Since then no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face . . . (NASB) Deuteronomy 34:10
Now that is great! Both Abraham and Moses had relationships with God that were like the relationships we call friendships. They were faithful men, and both of them spoke to God and listened to Him. Both of them had moments of struggle and poured out their hearts to Him. Their relationships were close.
The apostle John had a closer relationship with Jesus than any of the other disciples. He is constantly described in the gospel of John as the “one whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7, 20).
There was reclining on Jesus’ breast one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. (NASB) John 13:23
When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” (NASB) John 19:26
John is the only disciple who is said to have leaned against Jesus. He is the one disciple who was able to recognize Jesus after His resurrection. This implies that John not only had a close relationship with Jesus, but he knew Jesus really well.
Friendship With Jesus
Abraham, Moses and John had close relationships with Jesus. They were faithful men, men who spent time with Jesus, men who talked and listened to Him. These men wanted a friendship relationship with God. That is the first important step. That is what you want!
Jesus tells us what the next step is,
Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends, if you do what I command you. (NASB) John 15:13-14
The next step is called obedience, or being faithful to Him in everything we do. This was true of these men. They were faithful to God. Abraham believed God. The book of Hebrews says that Abraham was “faithful” (Heb. 3:5). The apostle John wrote these words, ” . . . if you do what I command you.” He also wrote these words,
For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; (NASB) 1 John 5:3
And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. (NASB) 2 John 6
All friendships involve a love. Both Jesus and the apostle John remind us that obedience expresses our love for Him and that faithfulness causes us to draw close to Him. The first step is a desire to love Him and be loved by Him. It is a desire to know Him. These desires will then cause us to want to be faithful which means obedience. And as we seek to be faithful to Him, as we spend time talking and listening to Him (reading the Bible and praying), as we confess our sins, we will find that our love for Him will grow more and more.
When we have earthly friends, we want to please them. We want to talk with them and listen to them. We call this conversation. As we spend time with them our relationship grows closer. But it started with a desire to be a friend. Then we had to spend time with them. If we want to be a friend of God, we must do the same thing. Today, we talk with Jesus by praying. We listen to Him by reading the Bible, and we show our faithfulness by being obedient. As we do these things our feelings for Him will grow.