I just thought I would throw out a passage that really stopped me in my tracks the other day.
“Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’ ”
This passage once again opened my eyes to how I often use my obedience as a bargaining chip with God. I foolishly act and think in such a way that if I can just build up enough of my own righteousness that I will twist God's arm into blessing my desires. This is both foolish and wicked and sadly when I do this I do not experience the benefits and blessings promised to me in the gospel.
We sometimes sing a song in Church that is difficult and humbling for me to sing but helps counteract this harmful attitude. The second verse reads:
Take all my cravings for vain recognition
Fleshly indulgence and worldly ambition
I want so much Lord to make You the focus
To serve You in secret and never be noticed
I want to have a heart like this, and I know I do not get there by negotiating with God using my own works.