You, of course, know how the spiritual life goes. When someone yields to passions then he doesn’t see them in himself, and he doesn’t restrain himself from them because he lives in them and with them. But when the grace of God moves him, he becomes aware of his passions and his sins, confesses them, repents, and makes the decision to abstain from them. The struggle begins.
At first a person wages war against deeds, but when he rids himself of these he starts the struggle against bad thoughts and feelings….although he doesn’t commit them any more, his soul still thinks of them with enjoyment….the attention which he pays to himself continuously reveals to him the whole tangled web of sinful thoughts which swarm in him. Discovering this disorder, he begins to drive away bad thoughts and to suppress passions. He learns to discern which thought is passionate, as well as how it begins, steals up, attracts and captivates the soul.
At the same time, he learns how to vanquish it, drive it away and extinguish it. The struggle continues–more and more passions get forced out of the heart….Forced out!
~St Theophan the Recluse