If I do the right thing, I want a parade in my honour. I want the angels in Heaven to get their trumpets out. I want God to pat me on the back.
I've been looking at the illustration about 'duty' that Jesus uses in Luke 17. It opened my eyes to the foolish and arrogant attitude I have about serving God.
"Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, 'Come along now and sit down to eat'? Would he not rather say, 'Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink'? Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.'" (Luke 17:7-10)
Should I be thanked for doing what I was told? For simply doing my duty? Here is a scenario that I frequently have: I convince myself (rightly) to do a good thing. It is not the easy thing to do, but it's the thing I feel I should do. Although I don't voice it, I have an unspoken expectation of God at this point.
You should smooth the way for me, God. I have gone out on a limb for You, so You should make it all go well. There should be no hitches.
Now, often things don't go smoothly when I try to do the right thing, and there are hitches. What I did went unnoticed or unappreciated. What I did didn't 'work'. So I turn sullen.
While I still won't put the feelings in to words, what I'm thinking is, 'God, I did this for You. I didn't want to do it, but I did it anyway. The least You could have done was make it work.' It's as though I'm doing God a favour; I don't owe Him, He owes me.
This is all completely backwards. Everything has been done for me, I have been called, saved and richly blessed, all for free, all by the grace of God and the sacrifice of Jesus.
We are His servants, not His peers. We don't do favours for God and expect favours back in return. We serve, and do what He tells us to do. And when your Master is perfect in love, and completely faithful and generous to you, you should be happy to serve Him. You should rejoice and run to serve Him. Out of gratitude for all He's done.