Taken from Pleasures Evermore: The Life-Changing Power of Enjoying God by Sam Storms, Heat and Light summarizes the two different ways, via Greek mythology, that a person can overcome sin. This is an amazing illustration.
In Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus, the hero, must sail his ship through dangerous waters near an island of Sirens. The Sirens were an evil, man-eating monster that entranced passersby with songs so beautiful that they could then control the thoughts and actions of the sailors, driving them to crash their boats on shore, and be devoured by the seductive beasts. Odysseus, being well aware of their powers, commands his crew to plug their ears, and chain him to the mast. You see, though he knew the dangers, he still longed to hear the Siren’s songs. And hear them he did: the Sirens even took the shape of his own wife, capturing all of his passions: heart, mind, soul, & strength. He was only restrained from redirecting the ship by the chains binding him to it’s mast. Yet, Odysseus survived the temptation of the Siren’s song, at least physically.
In another Greek myth, the Argonautica by Appolonius of Rhodes, our hero is Jason. On his journey home from his quest to find the ‘Golden Fleece’, he travels the same route as Ulysses, and also encounters the same threat. However, heading wise instruction, he brought with him the musician, Orpheus, who was renown for playing the lyre so beautifully that nothing could compare to his music. Instead of plugging their ears, and tying Jason to the mast, like Odysseus, Jason simply asked Orpheus to play his finest tune. Jason and his crew didn’t even notice the songs of the Sirens because they were entranced my music far more lovely: the songs of Orpheus.
Now, Odysseus may have survived the Sirens, but only Jason triumphed over them – “both obeyed” but only one was changed, and he was changed by BEAUTY! These examples ring true with me as two very different examples of how to live out the Christian faith. How often have I fell into the trap of thinking that merely by making laws restraining my actions that somehow I am living the life of a Godly Christian, when in fact the only true triumph of Godliness is when my temptation is curbed by a greater beauty – the beauty of the one true God, which we should pursue with such passion that we actually begin to lose interest in sin, as we are able to see it as it truly is. This ‘seeing God’ as beautiful, is Christian Hedonism, and it results in WORSHIP.
Listen to Dr. Storm expound on this reality: Pleasures Evermore Conference: Christian Hedonism