The Daily Stoic: January 17, 2021

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

Reflections on The Daily Stoic:

  • The Discipline of Perception
  • January's Theme: Clarity
  • Topic: Reboot the Real Work
  • Stoic: Epictetus

Today's quote:

I am your teacher and you are learning in my school. My aim is to bring you to completion, unhindered, free from compulsive behavior, unrestrained, without shame, free, flourishing, and happy, looking to God in things great and small - your aim is to learn and diligently practice all these things. Why then don't you complete the work, if you have the right aim and I have both the right aim and right preparation? What is missing? ...The work is quite feasible, and is the only thing in our power... Let go of the past. We must only begin. Believe me and you will see.

- Discourses, 2.19.29-34

Just as the Stoic philosophers worked in the lives of their students, and instructed their students to begin their own philosophical work, as Christians we know that God has worked and is working in our lives - for our good and for His glory. "...being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 1:6) "...for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose." (Philippians 2:13) "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)

Likewise, He calls us to carry out our own good works, compelled by our faith, to further His kingdom. Much as Epictetus tells his students, the work to which we as Christians are called can be viewed as both feasible and the only thing within our power. "Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling..." (Philippians 2:12) "For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (Ephesians 2:10)

"Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen." (Hebrews 13:20-21)