TODAY’S SCRIPTURE 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
In Ancient Greek literature, dangerous ladies called Sirens attract passing boats to come closer to the shore, causing damage and shipwreck. They lure them with beautiful, pleasing singing. In order to avoid inevitable disaster, Odysseus makes his crew fill their ears with wax (so they can’t hear the songs), tie him to the ship’s mast, and vow to tighten the ropes when he begs to come down. The Argonauts avoid the Sirens’ dangers when Orpheus plays his lyre so beautifully that they can no longer hear the haunting Siren songs.¹ Odysseus takes the “white knuckle” approach while the Argonauts and Orpheus find something better and stronger to satisfy them.
There will be times our holiness is tested and we must take the route of “resist at all costs” like Odysseus. But, like the Argonauts, we also must find and listen to the voice greater than our desires.
When Paul instructs the Thessalonians to abstain from sexual sin, notice it comes out of the aim of pleasing God (1 Thessalonians 4:1-3, 7-8). God is the standard of holiness, and it is His glory and holiness we should be most consumed with. There is the need for self-control (4:4), and our holy living results from knowing God (4:5).
Similarly, in Galatians 5:16-25, Paul doesn’t command us to bear the fruit of the Spirit and to avoid the works of the flesh. Instead, he commands that we walk with the Spirit instead of walking by the flesh. Walking with God produces spiritual fruit, and walking by the flesh produces sinful works.
When we commit to holiness, we need to hear the voice of God more longingly than we hear the tempting calls of sin and temptation.
Today, I will…introduce one new way I can add God’s “voice for holiness” to my day (daily Bible reading/study, prayer journal, spend time with God’s people, etc.).