We must work to get paid.
We must be quiet in class to get the prize.
We must obey our parents or be sent to our rooms.
We must obey the law or go to jail.
We must study to learn.
Because of limited nature of man, this is pretty much just the way things have to be. But I've also seen this in people's responses to the Gospel-- this fleshly inclination to DO something hinders people from simply receiving. They think they have to make the Gospel "happen" in their lives.
When Christ did what He did for us on the cross, ultimately it was intended to put to rest our vain attempts of righteousness. Any of our attempts to equal Him, mock His holiness and the perfectness of His sacrifice.
I remember as a young girl and even more recently, waking up in the mornings purposing that "Today, I'm going to do better. Today, I will behave, put others first, and have a good attitude." I always wondered why those days were the worst. Producing fruit takes concentration all right. But its not about purposing to do good. The key is fixing your eyes on Jesus, the Author and perfecter of your faith. My eyes were on my parents and the people watching me.
As I write this my thought process is smoking. Do works matter? YES! Now the fruits of our labor (as long as done in the Spirit) are received by God as a love offering, not atonement! Christ turns our rags of filth into a sweet aroma for the Father. So when someone says its an honor or privilege to serve God, its a literal fact!
There's a bajillion beautiful verses coming to mind that would fit different places in this post-- Wish I had time to add references. Here's hoping this all makes some sense and blesses someone besides me.