We may be able for a time to persuade others that our spiritual life is full of depth and glitter. And though it may be less true than we might like, we may for a time begin to believe it of ourselves. As well, our theological erudition, our political savvy, our well portioned service, all may serve to give an outward impression of true spiritual maturity, which may or may not match the inward reality. We may believe ourselves what we work hard to make others believe.
Therefore, it is always good to take this wise caution to heart:
“We must learn to measure ourselves, not by our knowledge about God, not by our gifts and responsibilities in the church, but by how we pray and what goes on in our hearts. Many of us, I suspect, have no idea how impoverished we are at this level. Let us ask the Lord to show us.”
(J. I. Packer, Knowing God, page 27)