Does God "need" our love? Why does He command us to love Him (just as He commands us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves)?:
To put it simply, God doesn’t need our love. While speaking to the people in the marketplace in first century Athens, the apostle Paul noted: "The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.”
God doesn’t need for us to love Him. God isn’t some self-absorbed egomaniac needing constant reassurance that He’s the apple of our eyes. God has all the love He could ever need or ever want within Himself, the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The New Testament tells us that, “God is love,” which doesn’t mean that God is some abstraction called love. It means that love informs every aspect of God's character and personality. Love is the motive behind everything God does--including judgment and discipline, including giving us the freedom to walk away from Him, including the cross and the empty tomb.
Out of an extravagance of love, though He didn’t need to do it, God gave us life and made us in His image.
The Old Testament says that we are the apple of God’s eye, the object of His passion and commitment and concern. That’s why, after humanity fell into sin, God set to work to save us from our sin--to save us from ourselves--and to save us from the death we deserve by becoming one of us in Jesus Christ, then dying and rising, so that all who repent and believe in Christ have life with God that begins now in this imperfect world and is “brought to perfection in the world to come.”
The fact is that God commands us to love Him not because He needs to be loved by us, but because we need to love Him.
When we love God, we simply acknowledge the reality that He is God and we aren’t, that He made us and that our lives are completely in His hands. We acknowledge that all of life is a gift from Him. And with gratitude, we acknowledge the depths of His passion for us, a passion that led Him to submit to suffering and death on the cross for us.