The Daily Stoic: January 19, 2021

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

Reflections on The Daily Stoic:

  • The Discipline of Perception
  • January's Theme: Clarity
  • Topic: Wherever You Go, There Your Choice Is
  • Stoic: Epictetus

Today's quote:

A podium and a prison is each a place, one high and the other low, but in either place your freedom of choice can be maintained if you so wish.

- Discourses, 2.6.25

In whatever circumstance or station in life we find ourselves, we always retain our freedom of choice to determine how we will perceive our situation and how we will use it.

We begin by acknowledging that wherever we are, in whatever circumstances, and whatever we are doing, we are called to honor God. "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." (I Corinthians 10:31) "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." (Colossians 3:23-24)

We then choose to be content in our circumstances, by recognizing that we are in Christ. "I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:11-13)

Then, we recognize that God may have a purpose for us in our current circumstances - and further, that our true status comes from our identification in Christ. "Each person should remain in the situation they were in when God called them. Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let it trouble you—although if you can gain your freedom, do so. For the one who was a slave when called to faith in the Lord is the Lord’s freed person; similarly, the one who was free when called is Christ’s slave. You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of human beings. Brothers and sisters, each person, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation they were in when God called them." (I Corinthians 7:20-24)

Perhaps God has called us to be his witness to those in a higher station. Let us be content. "All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered... But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that." (I Timothy 6:1,6-7)

Perhaps God has entrusted us with a higher station so that we can bless others. Let us not lose sight of where our real treasure is. "But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses... Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life." (I Timothy 6:11-12,17-19)

"The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen." (I Peter 4:7-11)

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