Obedience: Being Drawn to True Beauty

This is a wonderful, wonderful, excerpt and analogy from Dane Ortlund’s book, ‘Edwards on the Christian Life’:

Sin is false beauty. It is ugliness masquerading as loveliness. In the ancient Greek myth The Odyssey by Homer, the sirens’ song is enchantingly beautiful, so beautiful that sailors passing by in their boats would jump into the water, dashing themselves upon the rocks, to try to get close to that beauty. This is what sin is. It is an enchanting song that kills. Ulysses therefore has his men plug their ears as they row by and strap him to the mast so that he can hear their song without endangering himself.

When Jason (of Jason and the Argonauts) sails by, he employs a different strategy. Instead of being tied to the mast like Ulysses, Jason brings with him a harp-player whose music is so lovely, even more beautiful than the sirens’ song, that the sirens’ enticement is emptied of its power. A superior beauty has inoculated Jason against deadly temptation.

This is precisely Jonathan Edwards’ vision of obedience. We do not obey out of willpower, restraining ourselves from doing what we want to do by tying ourselves to the mast of self-control. Rather, our true affections have been directed to something much less deadly and much more beautiful: Christ. The issue once more is what we love. We can only do what we delight to do, whether that is quietly sending an anonymous check to a family in need or viewing pornography in the darkness of a solitary dorm room.

‘The issue once more is what we love.’ What do I love?

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