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Law free

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewellery or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 1 Peter 3. 3-4

"Moderation in all things" sounds like the motto for a respectable life: worthy but dull. "Love God and do as you please" is St Augustine's notorious rejoinder. Can this be right? It sounds almost irresponsible. Yet, from Augustine's perspective, loving God means living in harmony with God in which case we cannot go wrong.

In case you are still not convinced, take the apostle Paul's word for it in his letter to the Galatians. In chapter 5 verses 22-23 Paul lists 9 qualities which he refers to as "fruit of the Spirit" - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control - against which there is no law. In other words we are free to practice these qualities freely and without restriction, as much and as often as we like.

According to another apostle, Peter, in his 1st letter to the early Christian diaspora, the root of all virtue is humility. Following the example of God himself, who set aside his glory and entered the world in the person of his Son Jesus, preferring humility to vanity will liberate us from a negative attitude of entitlement so that we are free to delight in God and prioritise others. Jesus' call was never to a restricted life but is always to life in abundance.



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