‘Lord, let me go away again. For You are Jehovah Himself as was prophesied by Your servant David in his Psalms, but I am a poor sinner and absolutely unworthy of You.' (GGJ 11:13)
to which Jesus replied:
'stay with me and be of good cheer, for I have forgiven you your sins long ago, and even when you will be sinning at My side, I will forgive you that, too, for, because you have recognized Me and are already a rock in your faith, you shall be perfected – not in your strength, but in your weakness – solely through grace from on high'. (GGJ 11:14).
Note carefully that Jesus said: 'you shall be perfected - not in your strength, but in your weakness'. As I understand it - this is true of all us. We will be strengthened through our weaknesses. It is through the struggle with our weaknesses that we become spriritually strong, and form our own hearts and our own love, becoming more and more perfected. God wants us humans to be independent beings, not robots, not puppets who cannot stand on our two feet unless supported by Him. So therefore we must develop our strength independently, and our love must be our own formed out of our own free will - at least in part.
You may well ask - how can we have strength outside of God? And also what do I meant by 'in part'? - Both important questions. To answer these I will talk about the movement 'Alchoholics Anonymous'. Alchoholism is just one of many possible human weaknesses. We all have at least one weakness, it may be alchoholism, it may be something else. The fact is most people are prepared to put up with their weaknesses until it becomes a real problem for them. Only then will they start to take control of themselves. Alchoholics anonymous is a group/system set up specifically to help people deal with that particular weakness. We must all eventually deal with our weaknesses, and the sooner the better, as that is one major purpose of our lives. The fact is though that without God's help you do not stand a chance. Therefore turning to God is the critical decision in this regard. Alchoholics anonymous, which grew out of Christian practice, recognises this in the 'Twelve Steps".
The first step is:
'We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable'.
i.e recognising that a problem exists, and that you cannot control it. Then come the next steps:
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
Note step 3: 'Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God'. This is the second most critical thing. The other steps outline how to involve God in overcoming your weakness. The remaining 5 steps can be seen here.
The point is that this approach has been proven effective over decades with many thousands of alchoholics helped by following these 12 steps. And I argue that this same approach can be used - in fact is entirely necessary - to deal with all our weaknesss, be they pride, selfishness, sensual weakness, gluttony, vanity etc - whatever they may be - and for most of us there will be multiple weaknesses. We all have these, as these weaknesses are necessary for our development as independent beings.
The only question is when will one deal with them? When will one recognise them? and after that: When will one turn to God to help? - we cannot succeed without God's help. But note, God does not magically remove your weakness - you still must work. Every alchoholic would know that just turning to God is not enough - enormous levels of self-denial must be practiced - with occasional failures. So what does God do then? How does He help? He helps by guiding you along a path where you are not overwhelmed by your weakness, and as you get progressively stronger, He progressively allows more and more of your burden to be carried by you through your own strength (allowing you to get stronger and stronger).
So I suggest using the 12 steps as a guide - they are effectively the Christian path. But God is the critical ingredient - as without Him, your burdens will overwhelm and crush you. At which point of course there is an escape (as no-one is destined for such perdition) - simply turn to God.