Responsive gratefulness (translating the Greek philotimo) is a very strong theme in the teachings of the Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain. The following is taken from the book Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain.
Elder Paisios stressed that our acts are worthwhile only if they are done out of a grateful predisposition. He always urged us not to struggle out of self interest, but rather out of responsive gratefulness. Even our faith in God, should be based on our gratefulness. He used to say:
The person who asks for miracles, in order to believe in God, lacks dignity. God, if He wishes to, can make with one of His miracles everybody instantly believe. However, He does not do so, because He does not wish to exercise force on man’s free will; man will then end up believing in God, not out of gratefulness or due to God’s excessive kindness, but due to His supernatural power.
What God respects and values most is to love Him just because He is kind.
Christ was incarnated, mocked, whipped, crucified, out of His extreme love for humankind; He shed His blood for us. All these facts explicitly indicate to everyone that He is the true love. Impelled by the fact that “God is love” (1 John 4:8), we should love Him in return and believe that He is our God, for “we know no good apart from Him.”
If someone, who sees Christ’s sacrifice and love, does not believe that He is our God, and in order to believe asks for miracles, he will neither be able to truly love, nor to truly believe in Him.