Is it spiritual for followers of Jesus to examine themselves–to check the state of their walk with Christ in light of scripture? Of course. But can this be overdone? Can it become a distraction, and an unhealthy preoccupation? Could it actually keep us from heartily following Jesus if we’re over-focused on ourselves? Sure. What’s the antidote if you ever find yourself in that situation?
Remember that it is a far higher, nobler, and sweeter work to think of God, Christ, and heaven than of such worms as we ourselves are. When we look down into ourselves, we look into a dungeon, a prison, a wilderness, a place of darkness, horror, filthiness, misery, and confusion. Therefore, though such thoughts are necessary, in that without them our repentance and due watchfulness cannot be maintained, yet they are grievous, ignoble, and even fruitless in comparison with our thoughts of God.
When you pour over the contents of your heart to search whether or not the love of God is there, it would be wiser to think of the infinite friendliness of God. That will stir up love of God, whether it was there before.
So instead of trying so hard to read your heart to know whether it is fixed upon heaven, lift up your thoughts to heaven and think of its glory. That will raise your heart heavenward and give you and show you what you were searching for.
Devote time to plant holy desires in the garden of your heart, time that you presently spend probing and examining yourself while hoping to discern if those desires are there.
We are such darkened, confused creatures that the sight of ourselves is enough to provoke loathing and a horror in our minds, and to contribute to melancholy. But in God and glory there is nothing to discourage our thoughts and everything to delight them if Satan does not manage to misrepresent him to us.
This is great counsel, and it seems to follow in the steps of words like these:
“We do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
“Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…”
If you’re depressed or discouraged about your spiritual life, or your rate of spiritual growth, maybe it’s better for you to stop thinking about it, and look to Jesus, think about him, and get busy doing his will instead.