There has been quite a lot of gospel centered teachings on loving God for not what he can do for you but rather for who he is. There is a lot of truth in it, but there have to be a combination of who he is and what he does for you. Even God is frequently quoted in OT and some in NT about the deeds of the Lord. Psalm 92 “For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord;I sing for joy at what your hands have done.How great are your works, Lord,how profound your thoughts!”
You (God) make me glad by your deeds, Lord. It’s the deeds of the Lord that God has made me glad. This is a clear example with many many others in the Bible. And psalmist says here” I sing for joy at what your hands have done”!! Done!! This is clearly the deeds of God and what God has done has made me sing for joy!!
Psalm 116: “1 I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;he heard my cry for mercy.2 Because he turned his ear to me,I will call on him as long as I live.” This is another clear language that I love the Lord because he heard my voice, he heard my cry for mercy. –There is clear evidence we love the Lord because he heard our voice, our cry. Is that wrong? Not so, if you take it in the word value way, and not like binge greedy seeking God’s answering your prayers as a means to get what you want only, and not for God’s will to be done. However, if you take it like I only love the Lord if he answered my prayers, that will be wrong. That will be like an idolatry, and that’s what the gospel centered messages are saying. So, on the bible, we are validated to love the Lord because He has heard me. Legit, and we have to experience oru theology, experience our God, and who God is!
Question is how do I know who God is until I see what he does? Actions speak louder than words. That’s truly a strong and valid legit question. How do the creations know who their creator is without seeing and sensing and feeling what God has done in general and for him or her ! A man or woman’s heart is moved, as God touched him or her. It’s an expression of God’s love towards him or her. Example is the woman with the bleeding problem, after Jesus touched her and healed her bleeding and was later confronted she trembled and gave thanks! Because God has touched her! The leper who was cleansed leapt in joy and screamed!! Not just healings as the manifestation of the glory and deed of God, there are many others in the Bible, like the fire of God descended on Elijah’s sacrifice and licked up every drop of water, or feel the love of God as the Holy Spirit fills a person with joy and peace. These are tangible works or deeds of the Lord and as people receive the healings they see the almighty God and give thanks .
The other common way of showing who God is when he answers our prayers. When we have been praying for an open door, God opened that door, a job, a wife, husband, whatever, when God does answer the prayers we see who he is and our hearts are filled with joy thankfulness awe and worship towards the Lord and our God. All these point to my thesis here that you can’t see or know who God is until he manifests himself like the above described or in intangible way like his presence and peace and joy.
Now there is a third way which is probably the most major and common way of knowing God and hence loving him and serving him. And that’s through the word of God in meditation, a powerful way, or through the word of God preached.
Thesis is you won’t know God until he does something in your life no matter how you read the Bible and understand theology. But I would say by reading and understand theology God will dawn in your heart the revelation of who he is. And with actual answered prayers , it’s a complete revelation of God. I would conclude saying we love God for who He is and what he does for us and the world. You can’t separate the two. There is no dichotomy between the two.