It’s good to examine our own hearts but to do this the wrong way can only bring discouragement, even a sense of hopelessness over our spiritual condition. The Bible says in Jeremiah 17 that our heart is more deceitful than anything and desperately wicked, then asks us this question: “Who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9) So it is really impossible to understand our own hearts, much less to repair them.
Jeremiah goes on to reveal the solution to our problem. God says, “I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind…” (Jer. 17:10) God alone has the ability, and the loving care, to show us our own hearts and point us to a remedy that will give us hope and grace for change.
Other people may discern what we are but their observations and criticisms (even their compliments) carry no power to transform us. So God has ordained that we look into His Word and allow His Spirit to show us our own need and His remedy for character flaws and besetting sins.
Through His Word and His Spirit, He will cause us to see ourselves and feel a spiritual despair at our condition. But it is not the same feeling as when people condemn us. It is something healthy. When God shows us the heart, He can also give us grace to repent and to take Christ as our remedy for every failing and insufficiency.
Let the Lord examine you. Pray like David and say, “Search me, O God!” God will surely answer that request and begin His holy task of confirming you to the image of His Son. It may be painful at times, but throughout the process you will sense His Presence and will not succumb to despair, because you will know that He who began this work in you is intent on finishing it.