As we mature in faith, we move away from pride in ourselves and our own achievements to a gradual awareness of our spiritual failure and Christ's work in us as we entrust ourselves to Him.
We move away from the conviction that we are self-sufficient to the repeated experience of spiritual bankruptcy.
We move on from delusions of our spiritual importance to a growing sense of our utter insignificance and the glory of God.
We move on from delight in our own power to the painful recognition of our spiritual weakness.
We move on from our self-righteousness to the increasing consciousness that we are sinful.
In each of these painful experiences, we recognize the glory of God.
Christ fills our emptiness and justifies us by grace.
In short, the power of Christ is made perfect in our weakness.
Abba Matoes, a teacher of spirituality in the Early Church, sums up our experience of progress simply and profoundly: "When I was young, I would say to myself: perhaps I shall do something good; but now that I am old I see that there is nothing good about me."
--John Kleinig, *Grace upon Grace* p. 33,34