It is factually by the empowerment of the Supreme Lord that we can make any advancement on the path of liberation. If a devotee is thinking that he/she has a certain qualification which is very conducive to spiritual advancement, he/she is in great illusion. Because the only qualification for any spiritual advancement is when the Lord personally intervenes between us and the illusory energy and rescues us by His causeless mercy.
Austerities on the spiritual path, are the ways in which the conditioned souls express to God that we are depending on His mercy and that is all we have. We want that mercy more than anything else in life and we are willing to give up everything for that alone. It is said— first deserve, then desire. If we actually want spiritual advancement, we have to be willing to perform austerity to attract the attention of God to show Him we are serious, to show Him that we are depending on His causeless mercy.