Give and grant and impart to me,
Thy holy grace, and Thy Holy Spirit,
to protect me and preserve me from all my sins
present and future,
and to kindle in me all righteousness,
and to establish me in that righteousness
to my life’s end...
- Litany of Jesus II, Irish, 15th century
...for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
- Philippians 2.13
The primary work of the Holy Spirit in those who believe in Jesus, is to transform us into the image of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 3.12-18). John the Baptist understood this when he insisted that, for him to realize his full humanity and purpose, Jesus had to increase in him, and he had to decrease (Jn. 3.30).
If you have the Holy Spirit living in you, then He is bent on your growing into the likeness of Jesus. Don’t try to hijack or cajole Him into some other agenda. He knows what He wants, and He knows how to get it.
If being transformed increasingly into the image of Jesus Christ is not the driving force in your life, then you are not lined up with the reason God has given you His Spirit. You have hoisted the sails of your little vessel into winds other than those of the Spirit, and you’re not following the course charted for you in God’s master plan.
Only when we have unfurled our sails into the Spirit, allowing Him to blow upon, fill, and direct us, can we expect to realize fullness of life in Jesus Christ – being transformed into His image. Increasing in the knowledge of Jesus and His righteousness. Doing everything that we do for His honor and glory, and for the progress of His Kingdom.
This is entirely a work of God’s grace, the result of His Spirit working in us according to the Word of God. The anonymous writer of our Litany understood this very well.
But how does this occur? What happens to transform us, so that more of Jesus and less of, well, me is what people encounter each day?
The Spirit works within us, in our hearts and minds and consciences, to create in us a desire to know and love God’s Law, and to empower us to walk in it as Jesus did (Ezek. 36.26, 27; 1 Jn. 2.1-6). Can you say that you truly desire to know and love God’s Law? Or even where to find it in Scripture? Don’t expect the Spirit to change His curriculum just because you find the Law of God difficult or inconvenient. He knows what He’s doing.
Yes, the Spirit is our Comforter, soothing us with forgiving and reassuring grace. Yes, the Spirit is our Teacher, guiding us into all truth. He is also our Gift-giver, bringing out fruit and gifts for serving others. But He – the Holy Spirit – is working above all to make us holy, as God our Father is holy. For when we are holy, we enter the pleasure of God, because we are doing the works of God.
The grace of God that saves is also the grace of God that sanctifies, and we can know that the Spirit is working by grace in our lives when we can truthfully say with the psalmist, “Oh how I love your Law!” (Ps. 119.97)
It won’t do to glibly assert, “I’m not under law; I’m under grace.” No one has begun to understand the grace of God who hasn’t discovered the Law of God as the primary source for experiencing and expressing that grace. Jesus insisted that Kingdom greatness attaches to learning and teaching the Law of God (Matt. 5.17-19). If we have no time or interest for God’s Law, not only are we quenching the Spirit – given to teach us the Law – but we are denying our Kingdom-and-glory calling from the Lord (1 Thess. 2.12).
If we have the Spirit and are being filled with Him, then we will incline toward that which is holy and righteous and good – the Law of God (Rom. 7.12). The mind of the Spirit seeks to renew in us a mind that lines up with the principles and practices of love outlined in God’s Law (Rom. 8.5-8). The place God’s Law has in your life will determine the extent of the power of the Spirit’s sanctifying work in your life (cf. Ps. 1).
Look to the Spirit and grace of God to guide you into the truth of God's Law, to kindle in you the righteousness of Jesus, and establish you in it until your life’s end (Rom. 3.31). He knows what He’s doing. This is the way Jesus lived; it’s the way we must live as well (1 Jn. 2.1-6).
1. What could you do to add more meditation in God’s Law to your spiritual disciplines (cf. Ps. 1)?
2. How might you expect to benefit from doing so?
Psalm 19.7-11 (St. Christopher: Beneath the Cross of Jesus)
The Law of God is perfect, His testimony sure.
The simple man God’s wisdom learns, the soul receives its cure.
God’s Word is right, and His command is pure, and truth imparts;
He makes our eyes to understand; with joy He fills our hearts.
The fear of God is cleansing, forever shall it last.
His judgments all are true and just, by righteousness held fast.
O seek them more than gold most fine, than honey find them sweet.
Be warned by ev’ry word and line; be blessed with joy complete.
Lord, can I say that I love Your Law? What does that look like in my life? Help me to give myself more fully to Your Spirit by…
Resources for daily meditating on the Law of God
Thanks be to God!
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T. M. Moore, Principal
All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 Plummer, Litanies, p. 45.