The world presents many dangers to the Christian who is pursuing their salvation. There are those things in the world that we can easily recognize as being a serious danger. These things, such as violence, display of disordered sexuality, emphasis on material goods, just to name a few, are obvious to most of us. Generally speaking, we can say that they involve indulging the self in pleasures through the senses.
That being said let us think about those things that aren't obvious. These can be elusive; and difficult to recognize, but still have, over time, a powerful influence on our thoughts, attitudes and behavior.
One of the major keys to growth in the spiritual life; is to grow in the knowledge of yourself. There are things that are within us that present a danger to our salvation. Even if we are honest with ourselves, some of these thing may elude us. There are those of us who don't recognize their lack of humility, those who are filled with pride over their accomplishments; not giving God the credit He deserves, there are those with disordered egos, those who are vain, etc. The better you know yourself the more aware you become of the dangers in the world because the world reinforces and often rewards a person for these disordered qualities. The world reinforces thoughts, attitudes and behavior that are detrimental for a healthy and loving relationship with God. And, so, when you are able to recognize these aspects of yourself, you have the opportunity to work on changing them. This is not an easy thing to do. We all know that we have weakness and faults; so we have been able to get that far in being aware of our shortcomings. But are there other things about yourself that you are not aware of; that are holding you back in your relationship with God? I think it is fair to say that the answer is yes; and that this is true of just about everyone.
There are two things, I believe, that come into play here. Firstly, there are those things, unaware to us, that we may want to correct; or make an attempt to grow out of or to lessen the severity or frequency of their manifestation. Secondly, we all need to grow in the practice of the virtues.
So, how do we begin? Nothing is accomplished unless there is a movement of our free will – in other words – we have to want to do it. Then you can say “Lord, please help me, I want to know myself better and grow in virtue so I can be more pleasing in Your Eyes”.
The better you know yourself the better you are equipped to deal with the dangers of the world and to ensure your salvation. As you get to know yourself better and grow in virtue, God is more able to use you as a instrument of His Mercy in having you help your brothers and sisters attain salvation.