Perhaps you are familiar with the mythological character Odysseus (Ulysses). He left his beloved Ithaca and set sail for Troy to join Menelaus and Agamemnon to reclaim Helen, who was taken by Paris, prince of Troy, and to restore dignity to Greece. Here emerges the story of the Trojan horse. The return journey to Ithaca is my concern.
Odysseus had to sail past the Sirens who were outwardly irresistible with their beauty and songs. Once sailors were drawn toward them however, they were devoured by the cannibalistic creatures. Odysseus ordered his men to put wax in their ears and row for their lives, while he had other plans for himself. He wanted to hear the Sirens so he had the men tie him with ropes to the mast of the ship. When they sailed past, if it weren’t for the ropes, he would have succumbed to their songs.
Compare this with the story of Jason, another mythological figure. He too sailed past the Sirens. But he needed no wax or ropes. He brought along for the journey, Orpheus, a musician with unmatched talent. When they sailed past the Sirens, he had Orpheus play. The Sirens didn’t stand a chance! The sweet music of Orpheus overpowered their seductive songs.
I think many Christians are more like Odysseus and less like Jason. The song of the world and the flesh lures and seduces our appetites and we desperately, at times, want to give in, but the ropes of the opinion of others, the expectations on us, the rules our religious environment set up, and the possible consequences, hold us down. Now I get that accountability and duty are important to our lives, but they cannot be the ground of our obedience.
The sweet sounds of our Savior; the pleasure He alone offers, the future grace He has promised, the satisfaction He gives, and the treasure He is, must be what produces our obedience. Tuning into His Song is the only way we can see past the sugar coating of sin and resist the temptations of this world. We must seek the greater pleasure that He alone gives, that which lust and greed and approval can never provide. May the ground of our obedience not be duty, but delight. Only then can we slay the Sirens!