The Daily Stoic: January 15, 2021

Filed in PhilosophyTags: Clarity, Daily Stoic, Perception, Seneca

Reflections on The Daily Stoic:

  • The Discipline of Perception
  • January's Theme: Clarity
  • Topic: Peace is in Staying the Course
  • Stoic: Seneca

Today's quote:

Tranquility can't be grasped except by those who have reached an unwavering and firm power of judgment - the rest constantly fall and rise in their decisions, wavering in a state of alternately rejecting and accepting things. What is the cause of this back and forth? It's because nothing is clear and they rely on the most uncertain guide - common opinion.

- Moral Letters, 95.57b-58a

The idea Seneca references here is what he calls euthymia. The general Stoic concept of euthymia is a general calmness of the mind. As explained by The Daily Stoic, Seneca expounds on this concept as "believing in yourself and trusting that you are on the right path, and not being in doubt by following the myriad footpaths of those wandering in every direction."

As Christians, we can confidently know that we are on the right path, because we trust God to guide us. Jesus called Himself The Way: "Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6) The early church adopted the moniker The Way to describe followers of Christ. (Acts 9, 19, 24)

More directly, we are called to obey God's Word to ensure that we are on the right path. "How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word." (Psalm 119:9) "I run in the path of your commands, for you have broadened my understanding." (Psalm 119:32) "Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight." (Psalm 119:35) "I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes." (Psalm 119:59) "I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word." (Psalm 119:101) "Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path." (Psalm 119:105) "Because I love your commands more than gold, more than pure gold, and because I consider all your precepts right, I hate every wrong path." (Psalm 119:127-128) "Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me." (Psalm 119:133)

When we do so, we can trust that God will direct us on our path. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3:5-6)