In high school, and even into college, I weighed 260 pounds and was not even six feet tall. I was addicted to pornography — had been since I was nine. The appetites of the human heart are often insatiable. Whatever we want, we want a lot, and quick. It’s great when it comes to Bible reading, or prayer, or loving other. Not so great for tacos.
The message of the gospel collided with my appetites when I was fifteen. I was saved; I was washed; I was made new. Even so, as a young Christian I was losing battles with my gluttony and lust. My problem wasn’t with my ability to flee from sin. I was taking every possible physical measure to “flee youthful lusts” (2 Timothy 2:22). But I wasn’t tasting real freedom — not yet. Looking back, my war against the cravings inside of me was a lot like the The Odyssey.
Ulysess’s Will Power
Ulysses and his crew were on a long and dangerous journey. On the way, they sail by an island where Sirens lived. Sirens are beautiful-bodied, sweet-voiced temptresses who lure passers by with their songs. The sailors are lulled to the island and they crash their boats ashore. When they do, the Sirens destroy them.
Ulysses knows this temptation, so he has the others bind him to the mast. As they sail by, he loves the Sirens’ songs and desperately wants to go in closer. But he’s restrained. He can’t follow his urge — the overwhelming appetite. In his battle against temptation, he had won, but he wasn’t free.