There is a subtle snare in self-improvement programs. We may easily be like the flowers Lilias trotter describes, bent on perfecting themselves, and by becoming double, ending in barrenness. We cannot make ourselves holy. But when we surrender ourselves to the Lord, learning day by day to treat all that comes to use with peace of soul and firm conviction that His will governs all, He will see to our growth in grace. He will so govern the events in our lives, down to the smallest detail, as to provide for us the conditions which may make us fruitful. It is not for our sake but for the sake of others. The beauty of the flower is not for itself. It offers itself to God’s sunshine and rain, gives its fragrance to any who pass by, but it must wither and die before the fruit can be produced.
Elisabeth Elliot, A Path through Suffering