It is beneficial to have an honest judgment or realistic evaluation of our strengths and weaknesses. This enables us to see the potential pitfalls and address them, while intentionally living out our strengths. An assessment should be a balanced exercise – a mix of encouragement for what we do well and progress made while also highlighting deficiencies and giving helpful suggestions how to improve in areas that are below par. If there is only praise, this can lead to pride and the mistaken belief there is nothing to improve, while if the assessment only focuses on faults this can shatter a person’s self-esteem.
Search me, O God and know my heart – Ps 139:23
to speak into our lives. A spiritual mentor or guide may be helpful. God tests us to see what's in our hearts, with His Word judging the thoughts and the attitudes of our inner being, which is where our character originates (Deut 13:3; 1 Sam16:7; Ps 26:2, 139:1-3; Prov 4:23; Jer 17:10; Heb 4:12). His goal in that we grow in grace and knowledge, becoming more like Jesus and even though these trials of refining they result in God receiving glory and praise if we co-operate with Him (Rom 8:29; 1 Pet 1:6,7; 2 Pet 3:18). We will all stand accountable before God with His true assessment determining our destiny. Those who have refused His offer of grace and lived unrepentant lives will face eternal damnation, while those who have turned to Him and are endeavouring to live by His standards will enjoy the glories of heaven (Mt 25:46; Jn 3:36; 2 Thes 1:8,9; Rev 20:11-15, 21:27, 22:14,15).
The Bible’s directive is, “Speak the truth in love” (Eph 4:15). Both truth and love are necessary components for constructive feedback. We need to be secure in ourselves to invite others to evaluate us, as we acknowledge there is room for improvement and thus the opportunity for growth. We must respect the viewpoint of those we intentionally ask for feedback while following through on the recommendations is vital.
To be of value an assessment must be followed with appropriate action
especially to ensure we are a true follower of Jesus (Prov 4:26; 2 Cor 13:5; Jas 1:22-25). Regular reviewing of everything we do is a worthwhile activity. We then can determine what can be eliminated from our lives and what should be encouraged so we come closer to fulfilling His call on our lives and living for Him through an intimate heart relationship, not lifeless head knowledge. Remember, becoming a Christian is the first step along the pathway to heaven – it requires our ongoing effort to live out what we profess. We are to rid our lives of its old life sinful nature and replace it with His, outworking the salvation we have been priviledged to receive (Eph 4:22-24; Phil 2:12; Col 3:8). The solemn warning of Scripture is, "the unrighteous will not enter the Kingdom of God" (1 Cor 6:9,10). We not only repent of sin at conversion but throughout our subsequent lives when we sin (1 Jn 1:8-10).
When God created the world, He evaluated His handiwork and determined "that it was good" (Gen 1:4,10,12,18,21,25). After creating humanity in the divine image, His appraisal of the entire creation was "very good" (Gen 1:31). Later after sin had entered the perfect world, He assessed it as "corrupt and filled with violence" (Gen 6:11,12).
The angelic messenger to the seven churches commended them yet also outlined their various deficiencies and prescribed remedial actions particularly suited to their specific circumstances and not necessarily to the same template (Rev 2:1-3:22). We learn from the Parable of the Talents, that while God expects definite outcomes He does not expect everyone to bring the same results (Mt 25:14-30). We all are to be faithful to use what has been entrusted to us, with those who have been given much more is expected of them (Lk 12:47,48; 2 Cor 8:12).