Why not start with Martin Luther?
In his 1518 Heidelberg Theses Luther points out that God’s love is fundamentally different from human love. God’s love does not find its object but creates its object.
Human love finds its object, We love people or things because we find in them something loveable, something attractive. God does not have that option because there is nothing lovable in any of us. We are by nature sinful and unclean with no true fear or love of God. By loving us even when we are sinful and unlcean God makes us the objects of his love.
“But God shows his love for us in this, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
Don’t tell me about your faith. Instead I want to hear about your Jesus. Once I know who your Jesus is then I will know all I need to know about your faith. – Donavon Riley
And more from Luther about faith:
from Luther’s Bondage of the Will:
“Hence in order that there may be room for faith, it is necessary that everything which is believed should be hidden. It cannot, however, be more deeply hidden than under an object, perception, or experience which is contrary to it. Thus when God makes alive He does it by killing, when He justifies He does it by making men guilty…Thus God hides His eternal goodness and mercy under eternal wrath, his righteousness under iniquity. This is the highest degree of faith, to believe Him merciful when He saves so few and damns so many…”
Kurt Marquardt: “If there is such a thing as a characteristic ‘structure of Lutheranism,’ which distinguishes it from other confessions, then it must lie surely in a relentless realism of faith that will not let any of God’s life-bearing gifts be spirited away into significances and abstractions.”
From Philip Watson’s book, Let God Be God an interpretation of Luther’s thought.
Egocentric – a way to get things we want which are not available any other way
Theocentric – a way to express my utter dependence on God.
Egocentric – in exchange for believing in Him and confessing Him God ‘owes’ it to me to safeguard my interests.
Theocentric – God is good and wise even when His purposes run counter to mine.
Egocentric – I will eventually be perfectly happy either in this world or the one to come.
Theocentric – My will is completely conformed to God’s will. I am content to play whatever role God selects for me.
Egocentric – God is my highest good – He fulfills my deepest needs.
Theocentric – God is the only good, period, end of story. His will is to be sought and obeyed even though it in no way ministers to my wishes.