How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God? John 5:44 (NAS)
At first glance, this is a confusing question, but if you go back and read the whole exchange between Jesus and the religious types, it makes a little more sense. Jesus preached a message that turned the religious ideas of the day on their head. He said God doesn't care about what you do until He changes your heart, and that can only happen once you understand how rotten you are on the inside.
In Matthew 5-7, the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gave a relentless list of items 'you have heard it taught this way, but God really meant it like this'. The people flocked to Him because He gave them hope. They COULD please God, not on their own merit, but because they trusted Him to make them worthy.
The religious leaders of the day had a far different system. Your worth to God was based on your ability to keep the Law and all the other corollaries they had devised through the generations. They were the experts, so they kept it better than anyone else, as a result they were God's favorites, and no upstart, uneducated hick was going to tell them any different.
The issue is one of standards. As long as the religious leaders were better than the common people (and better than most of their colleagues) they figured they were in good shape. However, they were using the wrong standard. God doesn't compare us to each other. He compares us to Himself. Are we as holy and perfect as He is? Of course not.
As long as we are content just to be "better" than those we see around us, if that's our idea of righteousness, then we have no room to receive the imputed (real) righteousness than comes from God. Only when we recognize our spiritual bankruptcy, does God take over.
Whose standard are you measuring yourself against?