In the Bible we are instructed to examine ourselves to see whether we are truly believers (2 Corinthians 13:5) and we are also called to confess our sins to the Lord (1 John 1:9). To obey both of these commands requires that we look within ourselves. We have to know what the sin is before can confess it and we have to see evidence of faith to help us see if our faith is real. Self-examination is an important practice for Christians as we seek to love and serve our King, but please allow me to give you a warning as you look inside yourself.
Self-examination can very easily move from a humble desire to walk in the light before God to a concentrated effort to find confidence and esteem in yourself apart from God. If you’re not careful, you can find yourself engaging in something that seems to others as very contrite – the practice of someone who is taking holiness seriously – but is actually fueled by a self-righteous attempt to find evidence of your own worth so you can feel good about yourself. If you find what you’re looking for (as rationalized and duplicitous as it may be), then you’ll be proud and self-reliant, but if you don’t find what you’re looking for, then you’ll be devastated and insecure.
Some counsel: don’t go spelunking inside your heart without first anchoring yourself to the gospel. The gospel will remind you that you desperately needed to be rescued…that will keep you from pride when you see your “credentials”. And the gospel will remind you that you stand before God in the righteousness of Christ…that will keep you from devastation when you see the wretchedness of your sin.