If some shameful thought is sown in your heart as you are sitting in your cell, watch out. Resist the evil, so that it does not gain control over you. Make every effort to call God to mind, for He is looking at you, and whatever you are thinking in your heart is plainly visible to Him. Say to your soul: “If you are afraid of sinners like yourself seeing your sins, how much more should you be afraid of God who notes everything?” As a result of this warning the fear of God will be revealed in your soul, and if you cleave to Him you will not be shaken by the passions; for it is written: “They that trust in the Lord shall be as Mount Zion; he that dwells in Jerusalem shall never be shaken” (Psalm 125:1 LXX). Whatever you are doing, remember that God sees all your thoughts, and then you will never sin. To Him be glory through all the ages. Amen.
~St Isaiah The Solitary (Philokalia, vol. 1, p. 28)
Complacency with respect to our thoughts is one of the greatest allies of the enemy and one of our greatest dangers. Too often most of us fool ourselves into thinking that what we think doesn’t matter, especially since nobody knows what we are thinking…or so we think.
Everything is brought into the light eventually, nothing remains hidden. We are told in Scripture that we will have to account for every idle word, and, in a sense, thoughts are simply unspoken words. God is Spirit, and He plainly hears these unspoken words that we utter within ourselves.
Rather than allowing ourselves to be lulled into inaction when we have shameful thoughts, instead, it is important to use these thoughts as a call to action; a sinful thought can be the stimulus we need in order to call out to Christ for help. What the enemy intends for evil can be transformed and used instead for good if we teach ourselves the new habit to call on our Lord at the onset of every shameful, wicked, or hurtful thought.
But we must first begin to take our thoughts seriously, and also recognize the fact that our thoughts are the precursors to our actions. Shameful thoughts left unresisted, become shameful actions; so, better to resist them now, while they are thoughts, before they gain greater power over us in the future as actions and habits.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.