In William Gurnall's book The Christian in Complete Armour he gives the following illustration,
"If the ship launched, rigged, and with her sails spread cannot stir, till the wind come fair and fill them, much less can the timber that lies in the carpenter's yard hew and frame itself into a ship. If the living tree cannot grow except the root communicate its sap, much less can a dead rotten stake in the hedge, which hath no root, live of its own accord. In a word, if a Christian, that hath his spiritual life of grace, cannot exercise this life without strength from above, then surely one void of this new life, dead in sins and trespasses, can never be able to beget this in himself, or concur to the production of it. The state of unregeneracy is a state of impotency."(p23)
We will never make progress in our spiritual life without being born again. Faith is always grounded in the finished work of Christ. We begin our Christian life renouncing our trust in our own power and trusting completely in what Christ accomplished for us in his death and resurrection. This faith is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8-10).