Until we understand the heart [love] of God, it is hard to love Him back. Externally obeying the commandments of God is not an evidence of our love for Him. Such usually is motivated by fear, insecurity or pride. Pharisees and Sadducee's obeyed the commandments of law externally, but Jesus had to call them 'white washed tombs'. I don't think I need to explain what is inside a tomb, though it looks good from outside.
When it comes to religion people focus so much on pleasing God by obeying His commandments, without realizing that the only thing what truly pleases God is our faith (Hebrews 11:6). Faith has to be motivated by love. If they [religious people] are honest enough, they ought to admit that they fail at the first commandment itself (Love God with all your heart). How can we love Him with all our heart if we don't know His heart [love] for us?
How do we know his heart in the first place? I think that [knowing His heart] is the foundation of our faith. His love has to be felt in our heart. Yes, We can listen to all preachers who proclaim the love and heart of God, but we still may not be able to understand and feel because according to the word, it has to be revealed. This is not to say that God wouldn't use some preachers/authors to get our attention. But, knowledge through revelation has lot of power, the power to think straight and understand the love God displayed on the cross. It takes more than memorizing John 3:16.
For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. - 1 Corinthians 2:11
So, it is the Spirit of God who reveals the thoughts (heart) of God to us.
"No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him"— but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. - 1 Corinthians 2:9
Apostle Paul studied the law for so many years from his teacher Gamaliel (a world-class teacher of the law), but later, after His encounter with Jesus, He said, no man taught Him the Gospel but God revealed it to Him. What ever man taught him for so many years became frivolous in a moment. It is such a revelation what made him, who was a hardcore legalist, to accept the 'foolishness of the message of cross'.
I did not receive it [Gospel] from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. - Galatians 1:12
Later on, he prayed this prayer for us:
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. - Ephesians 1:17
Are we ready to trust God for revelations from His word? Trusting Him alone to understand the true meaning of His word?
[Note: This post was written primarily for me. I love reading the books written by men because such entertains my mind so easily. So, often times I keep postponing to get back to bible and trust God for revealing the true meaning of His Word. As a matter of fact I kind of read all other books as a substitute for trusting God for revelations from Bible. It's a mistake, I realize. When we trust God alone for revelations from Bible, it's so wonderful, usually accompanied with a lot of 'aha' moments, excitement and thrill. The difference is, we finding the hidden treasure versus someone telling us where/what the treasure is.]