Valley of Vision
Some thoughts on a fresh appreciation for an old truth...
A friend of mine reading The Valley of Vision for the first time. He is stricken by the stark sensitivity to personal sin that these prayers and devotions express. In the day and time when the airways of Christian radio are fraught with gossamer advice that helps people with their personal quests, personal vision statements and psychologizes their sin, reflection on personal sin is the novelty. This type of reflection is humbling if not humiliating, because deep confession reaches and exposes the grime of the heart.
Jesus says "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Mt. 5:3). If we understand the word "blessed" (Gk. makários) to carry the connotation "approved of God", we are able to discern that humble reliance on the grace and manifold mercies of God have always been heaven's standard. "The poor in spirit" know that they are spiritually bankrupt and offer no pretense to the contrary. They also know that the kingdom of heaven does consists of a merry band of pathological liars who ignore their transgressions and stealthily boasts in their own presumed goodness. Much to the contrary, they know that they are in desperate need of the grace of God and that God delights to show such grace, and such grace beckons us to righteousness and trust in Christ, which pleases God. Sensitivity to sin is not an end in and of itself. Confession is not a goal. It is a u-turn.