The difference between knowing Jesus and accepting Jesus
What is the difference between knowing that Jesus is the only way for me to be saved and actually accepting Him as my Saviour? And if I don't feel love toward God, can I ask Him for that love?
Let me begin with the last question. Of course, we may ask God everything that we really need and which is according to His will. We don't need to prove to each other that to love Him is His will. That's clear from all Scripture. Consider then God's own promise in Ps. 81. "Open thy mouth wide and I will fill thine every need." He rebukes His people Israel in the last part of the Psalm about their terrible disregard for not asking Him for the blessings He is so ready to give. Give the Lord Jesus ALL your needs in prayer. David did ask Him to 'incline my heart to Thy Word' which means that he didn't quite feel so inclined when he prayed that. We often think we have to come to God 'worthy or good or bettered' but Jesus has come to save sinners, lost, unworthy, unholy, wretched, guilty, filthy, lepers etc. Isn't that a wonderful good news? Never do I need to make myself better than I am. For one, it is impossible and secondly, it is dishonorable as He alone is God and there is none beside Him that is Saviour.
The next question I would love to hear your answer on is 'what is the love?' I notice that you wrote that 'love is a feeling.' How common is that opinion. I like to point out to you that love has feelings but actually it is an act of the will. When I am to 'love my enemies' the Lord doesn't expect me to have all kinds of warm feelings towards those people who treat me like dirt and make my live miserable. But I am to show love to them. I need to act in love by being kind, helpful, serving, humble myself to even wash their feet (as Jesus did with Judas Iscariot's as well!) So it is with our love to God. It is an act of my will in which I make choices, make confession, verbalize my convictions, cut out the things that dishonor Him, honor Him with my time and devotion, do the things that promote His name even though it my cost me my life or my reputation etc. I would be lying if I told you that each time I show my love to my wife that I am overcome with feelings of love. Don't take me wrong, the actions are the expression of my deep and committed love and often are more or less accompanied with feelings. But feelings do not define my love; they accompany more or less my loving deeds. So also in our love to God. This 'will' to love God is the fruit of God's Spirit. He makes His people willing in the day of His power. (Ps. 110) This is essence of the new birth. In the Canons of Dort (which I hope you know where to find) it is beautifully explained that "the Spirit opens the closed, and softens the hardened heart and circumcises (cut away) that which was uncircumcised (sinful aspects of our heart/life), infuses new qualities into the will, which before was dead, He now quickens (makes alive), from being evil, disobedient and refractory (stubborn), He renders it good, obedience, and pliable; actuates (activates) and strengthens it, that like a good tree, it may bring forth the fruits of good actions (one of them is LOVE!)' Canons III/IV, 11. I hope you understand these words. So, ask yourself, is this willingness in me: this willingness to do the things that are described as love in God's Word? We struggle with the inability to do this of course. The more we try to overcome the inner depravity, the more hopeless we feel. However, that's God way of discovering to us that we need Another. And He stands ready to be there for you!
That leads me to your third question. Is the Lord Jesus the only way? Absolutely. There is no one Who can reconcile God Who is holy and you who is unholy? Who else can do that but He Who is God and man? His sacrifice satisfied the just requirements of an infinite God but also the needs of a lost man. No Will, there is NO OTHER NAME given under heaven. Besides, not only is He the only Way but He is also the only Savior that can change your heart! Solomon was the wisest man on earth but he couldn't change hearts, open blind eyes etc. Only the Lord Jesus can sanctify your heart that it would love Him and love your neighbors. No one else can invade the inner spirit of you and renew it in holiness and righteousness. But He can, Will. He has changed my heart and millions and millions of other people. Before they were addicted to self, sin and the world and under the cover of piousness all of us are monsters! But in His almighty and good grace, He changes people from self-lovers to God-lovers by giving them a new nature! How wonderful His Spirit is to renew the hearts of men.
God indeed brings Him before us in the message of the Gospel preaching. We are to 'receive or accept Him' by faith. John 1:12 says that 'as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God." God expects us to receive Him but He doesn't expect us to receive Him by our own strength. He is also the author of faith and so seek Him daily for the faith which YOU have the exercise. If your heart has been made willing to place your trust in Him alone, then do place that trust in Him alone. God expects that. If you have seen that there is no one Who can reconcile you with your holy and righteous Creator, then confess Him in your prayer as such. David confessed, "I will make mention of no other righteousness but thine only." Is that also your desire? Do you see that there is no other righteousness then Jesus only? Has your heart begin to hunger and thirst after righteousness (being right and doing right in the sight of God and men!) and having failed to find that in your own heart, have you learned to see that in Christ God provided the righteousness that you need? Then fail not to receive Him by faith? What does that mean? That means you may confess in your prayer, "Lord, in myself is only guilt, sin, unworthiness, unrighteousness. But I have learned from Thy Scripture that thou has provided in Christ all my needs and that He is freely offered to me also. Lord, I desire to trust alone on His work and His merits and His sacrifice to make it right between me and Thou my Creator God. Receive me graciously for Christ sake in whom alone I trust." God expects us to respond to His call and through His Word and Spirit He also makes willing AND able to respond in repentance and faith.
I hope you may come to that saving faith and learn to know Him more and more and experience the power of His blood on your conscience and the power of His resurrection in your heart leading you on the pathway of the just that shineth more and more until the perfect day.