This quote from Watchman Nee sent me scurrying for my Bible:
We are never told in the Word of God to examine our inward condition.Immediately my head floods with scriptures that I think contradict his statement. So I search and find that none of them actually do. I continue reading and find that the Bible in fact says numerous times that God reveals our hearts to us. Our hearts are not revealed to us by our turning within.
Psalm 36:9: “In thy light shall we see light”.
“The entrance of Thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (psalm 119:130 A.V.).
“The word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and laid open before the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (Heb. 4:12,13).
Later Nee writes:
Scripture shows us how the saints were brought to self-knowledge. It was always by light from God, and that light is God Himself. Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Peter, Paul, John, all came to a knowledge of themselves because the Lord flashed Himself upon them, and that flash brought revelation and conviction. (Isa. 6:5; Ezek. 1:28; Dan. 10:8; Luke 22:61, 62; Acts 9:3-5; Rev. 1:17).These passages show us that it is God who reveals our heart to us and He does so by revealing Himself to us. We cannot discover this knowledge by turning within and examining ourselves. Knowledge of self is revealed through a knowledge of God. Knowledge of God is revealed through His Son Jesus Christ. In Christ all of our trying, effort, and energies are unnecessary. It is his work in us that brings about revelation and change of self. This would include our efforts to examine our own hearts to discover what needs to change and our efforts to change by our own strength. Christ has done all the work, we are called to walk by faith in his finished work.
Faith says with Christ "it is finished".
Self-examination asks: what is undone?
one last quick clip from Nee:
only a thorough understanding of the Cross can bring us to that place of dependence which the Lord Jesus Himself voluntarily took when He said: “I can of myself do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is righteous; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of him that sent me” (John 5:30).