Socrates is credited with originally saying, 'The unexamined life is not worth living'. In my previous post Imago Dei, I described a time in my life when I began to examine who I was and what I believed. This is a valuable and necessary practice - and should be an ongoing one. The following is an paraphrased excerpt from a sermon by Spurgeon.
This is a 'legal idea'. You have seen the witness in the box, when the lawyer has
been examining him, or cross-examining him. Now, mark my words:
never was there a rogue less trustworthy or more deceitful than your own
heart, and - as when you are cross-examining a dishonest person - you set traps for him to try and find him out in
a lie, so do with your own heart. Question it backward and forward,
this way and that way; for if there exists a loophole for escape, if there be any pretense or self-deception, rest assured your treacherous heart
will be ready enough to avail itself of it.
This is also a 'traveler's idea'.
I find in the original (2 Cor. 13:5), it has this meaning: "Go right through
yourselves." As a traveler, if he has to write a book about a country,
is not content to merely go around its borders, but goes right through the country. He climbs the hill
top, where he bathes in the sunshine: he goes down into the
deep valleys, where he can only see the blue sky like a strip between
the lofty summits of the mountains. He is not content to gaze upon the
broad river unless he traces it to the spring from where it rises. He will
not be satisfied with viewing the products of the surface of the earth,
but he must discover the minerals that lie within its bowels. Now, do
the same with your heart. "Examine yourselves." Go right through
yourselves from the beginning to the end. Stand not only on the
mountains of your public character, but go into the deep valleys of your
private life. Don't be content to sail on the broad river of your outward
actions, but go follow back the narrow creek till you discover your
secret motive. Look not only at your performance, which is but the
product of the soil, but dig into your heart and examine the vital
principle. "Examine yourselves." This is a very big word—a word that
needs thinking over; and I am afraid there be very few, if any of us,
who ever come up to the full weight of this solemn exhortation—"Examine
What think ye brethern?