Hat-tip to my friend Noah for sharing this passage from D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in his book, Spiritual Depression.
Do not think in terms of bargains and rights in the Kingdom of God. That is absolutely fatal. There is nothing so wrong as the spirit which argues that because I do this, or because I have done that, I have a right to expect something else in return. This is met with frequently. I know very good evangelical Christian people, who seem to be thinking like that. ‘Now,’ they say, ‘if we pray for certain things, we are bound to have them, for instance if we pray all night for revival we must have revival.’ I have sometimes described this as the ‘penny in the slot’ idea of Christianity. You put in your coin and you draw out a bar of chocolate or whatever else you want. Now this is that same attitude. Because men in the past have prayed all night that revival might come and revival has come, therefore let us have an all-night prayer meeting and revival will come. But that surely is to deny the whole principle which our Lord is teaching. I do not care what it is, whether prayer or anything else, in no respect must I ever argue that because I do something I am entitled to get something-never. And of course the principle can be seen to be true in practice. Think of the many such prayer meetings that have been held. And yet the revival has not come, and I am going to venture to say that I thank God that it has not. What would the position be if we could command these things at will? But we cannot. Let us get rid of this bargaining spirit, that if I do this then that will happen. You cannot have revival whenever you want it and as a result of doing certain things. The Holy Spirit is Lord, and He is a Sovereign Lord. He sends these things in His own time and in His own way. In other words we must realize that we have no right to anything at all, (pg. 129).
Everything we have is from God’s hand and we should be thankful for “in him we live and move and have our being,” (Acts 17:28, ESV).