It is a mesmerizing melody, leading us blindly to our own demise. It is the ancient seductress of all righteous people. It is the siren’s song.
Every man on Earth feels the constant pull of a force that seeks to derail them for their life’s true mission. What is temptation? It comes in many forms, but at the very root it desires to lead us into forsaking our deepest moral obligations and convictions. Virtue and temptation are eternally at odds.
A few months after I came clean to Hannah about my affair, I got a tattoo about this very idea. The battle between virtue and temptation is ancient and epic, and each of us must decide where we stand in this struggle daily.
This image is a scene from The Odyssey by Homer. In this passage, the hero (Odysseus) must pass by the isle of the sirens, which draw men to their deaths with their seducing melodies. Odysseus is aware of this, and he orders the men on his ship to bind him to the mast and cover his ears. He then commands them that they must stay the course on their journey, no matter what his temptation-maddened mind suggests instead. This is the essence of true faithfulness, defiant in the face of blatant temptation.
As I mentioned in a previous post, some people view marital obligation as a hindrance. As a person who nearly lost it all, I have a renewed appreciation for it. Faithfulness to a belief is like a taproot that strikes down to the deepest part of a man’s moral bedrock. When we bind ourselves to a principle, like Odysseus to the mast, we declare a greater truth than our preferences or momentary whims ever could. We are pledging ourselves to a higher purpose now and forever.
That’s why I love this illustration. Faithfulness requires deliberate action and daily commitment. It is not for the faint-hearted, and it is not a given. We cannot simply stumble into being people of integrity – it demands sacrifice, effort and intention.
As I write these words, the phantom of my own failures torments me silently. There are voices within that lob accusations of hypocrisy and shame at my spirit. I know that I’m not qualified to write these words, and that every sentence could be met with contempt and condemnation. Nevertheless, I press on for the benefit of others.
I encourage you to take a moment and evaluate your marriage covenant, and perhaps other important moral causes in your heart. Today, resolve once again to bind yourself to them as a promise of future faithfulness no matter what the sirens sing. In doing this, we will strike a mighty blow to the unseen forces of temptation that march towards us constantly.