The aim of self-evaluation is not to know the depths of our own depravity better, but to know the goodness of God better. There’s a huge difference.
If we know of specific sins that needs confessing, by all means, we should confess it. But if we are unaware of any specific sins, rather than trying to identify potential secret faults, we should simply turn our eyes to Christ. As He teaches us to be more like Himself and to conform us to His character, we will automatically become aware of areas in our lives that need improvement. Our clarity on Christ will also give us clarity on ourselves.
Do not identify your sin in order to become closer to Christ. Become closer to Christ, and He will identify your sin.
Secondly, self-evaluation can cultivate a spirit of fear, not a spirit of trust.
I know so many Christians who constantly question their own salvation. “How can I be a Christian if I am depressed? If I continue to sin? If I see so much hypocrisy in my life?”
Well, why should Christ have died if we were anything but miserable, hypocritical sinners?
1 Corinthians 1:26-27
Our sin is not the end of the story. Christ’s victory over sin is the end of the story.
Test the fruit. If the outcome of your self-evaluation is only misery and self-loathing, it is not good. If the outcome of your self-evaluation is the humility of a woman who knows herself to be undeserving, the joy of a woman who knows herself to be beloved, and the praise of a woman who sees the goodness of her God, then it is good.
Third, self-evaluation is impossible to do.
Jeremiah 17:9 says it all:
The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?
If we think we can unravel all our subtle motivations and devious self-deceptions, we should think again. We simply cannot see our own hearts truly, any more than we can see our own faces. We are not objective evaluators.
Suppose I am a runner in a 5k race, and suppose, mid-way through the race, I want to know if I am on track for making my time goal. So I stop, take out a tape measure, and begin to measure the distance and to calculate my rate of travel. Can I expect to make my goal? No, because I have stopped running the race in order to evaluate myself.
But suppose I call out to my coach who is standing on the sidelines. “How am I doing?”
He has the stopwatch. He has the knowledge. He can give me an objective evaluation.
God is our coach. Let Him show us how we are doing, through His Word, through communion with Him in prayer, and through His people. When He is the evaluator, we know His words are true.
A final word...
In all this, I am not saying that we should avoid brokenness. Sometimes, it is necessary to weep and say, “Have mercy on me, a sinner.” (Luke 18:13) But, again, there is a difference between brokenness that casts us into despair, and brokenness that leads us to love God more. Look for the sorrow that leads, not to darkness, but to life.
2 Corinthians 7:9
I'm 28 and single. I have a chronic illness. I just came out of a difficult home situation.