"All other graces are to be measured by our faith; and if these are not fruits they have no true worth. This is the difference between a Christian and an honest heathen. The heathen values himself by his patience, temperance, liberality, and other moral virtues. While he lives he brags about his morality; and he expects God to commend him and to guarantee him happiness after he dies. But the Christian has found Christ, whose righteousness and holiness by faith become his; and he values himself by these more than by inherent traits.
Let me illustrate this by two men-- the one a courtier, the other a countryman and stranger to court-- both having sizable estates, but the courtier the greater by far. Ask the country gentleman, who has no relation to the court or place in the prince's favor, what he is worth, and he will tell you the sum of his lands and monies. He values himself by these. But ask the courtier what he is worth, and although he has more property and money than the other, he will tell you he values himself by the favor of his prince more than by all his other assets. He says, "What my prince has is mine, except his crown and royalty, his treasure mine to take care of me, his love to embrace me, his power to defend me."
The poor heathen-- strangers to God and His favor in Christ-- bless themselves only by their natural resources and the stockpile of moral values, which they gather with great effort. But the believer, having access by faith into this grace because he stands high in God's favor by Jesus Christ, values himself by his faith rather than by any other grace. And he cherishes this grace of God in himself above all the world's treasure or pleasure-- he had rather be the ragged saint than the robed sinner. He prefers security in his spiritual life to stability in his natural life, which he is willing to lose and count himself no loser."Quoted material from, ”The Christian in Complete Armour Daily Readings in Spiritual Warfare” by Gurnall and James S Bell. http://www.moodypublishers.com/pub_productDetail.aspx?id=41823&pid=53617