This story from Greek mythology takes place on a mysterious island inhabited by a host of creatures called Sirens who are beautiful-bodied, sweet-voiced temptresses. Taking on the form of beautiful women, Sirens lured unsuspecting sailors toward shore by singing. Upon crashing into rocks hidden beneath the waves, the sailors would then be consumed by the Sirens. In this setting, two mythical heroes overcame the Sirens.
Ulysses is the first hero to triumph over the Sirens. Before passing the island, he gave his crew simple instructions —wax their ears, look neither left nor right, and row for their lives. Ulysses then asked to be strapped to the mast of the ship while leaving his ears unplugged. “I want to hear their song. No matter what I say or do, do not untie me until we are safely at a distance from the island,” he told his men. Upon earshot of the Sirens, Ulysses went mad, and fought against the ropes.
The next hero is Jason who was leader of the Argonauts. He chose a much different strategy from that of Ulysses. Jason brought with him Orpheus who had the ability to enchant anyone with his music. There was no lovelier melody in the whole ancient world. While passing the mystery island, he had Orpheus play music. The crew did not plug their ears, and Jason was never tied to the mast.
Ultimately, both heroes survived the Sirens. But, who had the better strategy? Ulysses or Jason? Both characters had no illusions about their limits. Ulysses and his men went through great pains and discomfort to overcome the Sirens. In contrast, Jason and the Argonauts had an easier experience by choosing to listen to music that sounded far sweeter.
There are many of us who struggle with destructive habits in our lives. The usual well-meaning advice we receive is to apply restrictions so that we do not fall back into temptation. Yet, there is inner-torment when resisting.
The good news is that we do have an Orpheus in our treacherous lives. I am proud to say that our Lord Jesus Christ is the ONE AND ONLY Orpheus, the sweetest song of my heart. Listening to Jesus’ sweet voice is the key to finding inner peace while overcoming temptations.
Dear friends, have you found your Orpheus yet? Who is your Orpheus?
“Speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:19, NIV)
By Christy Tran
Bible Portal Contributor
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