The most important factor in the struggle against any passion is spiritual concentration directed to God. When our heart burns with love to God then carnal pleasures seem insignificant and boring to us. Therefore it is necessary to warm up our soul with love to God in every way. This can be done through the reading of spiritual literature, sincere prayer, reflecting about God, attending service in the church, frequent confession and communion, good deeds… If we are spiritually strong, all the burning arrows sent by demons will bounce away from us like from a rock.
But as soon as we relax the enemy attacks us right away. That’s why: “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
Here are some pieces of advice on fighting sexual lust:
- It is always necessary to keep the mind occupied with pious and useful thoughts: about God, prayer, brainwork, good deeds to be done. Any temptation is rooted in the mind. Temptations seize the person in the following way: first there comes a dirty idea (sometimes caused through sight or hearing), then comes the enchantment (the capturing) which overcomes the will, and at last comes a fall. It is easier to stop a temptation at the first stage when a seductive idea has not yet become a lascivious desire. An idly wandering idea can easily transform into a sinful one. Therefore: “Think about the good so as not to think about the bad,” — Saint Ephraim the Syrian advise.
- Protecting oneself from temptations. The eyes and the ears are the doors of the soul. Therefore it is necessary to control them so that something seductive cannot penetrate the soul through them. Do not watch seductive photos or films, do not listen to voluptuous and violent music, do not contemplate beauty of the opposite sex… be very aware of what you read.
- Sin is contagious. People with whom we communicate have a great influence on us. “Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33). Therefore, avoid spoiled society where you may be led away by a bad example; do not listen to cynical jokes; bravely stop a story-teller asking him to be decent, or leave the company without hesitation if someone starts telling such things, and it is best to avoid going to places where you think you may hear them.
- A healthy body contributes to the health of the soul. Therefore it is necessary to lead an abstinent and active life. One should observe the fasts — especially Wednesdays and Fridays; eat simple and moderate food, nothing alcoholic or stimulating; wear simple and modest clothes; sleep on a firm bed; sleep moderately and wake up early; bathe or wash with cool water; walk and toil physically. These rules of elementary hygiene and leading a purposeful way of life help pacify chaotic carnal passions.
- Never play with temptations, because this already means falling half-way. Seductive dances, games with kisses, secret meetings, flirtation “for the sake of the sport” are dangerous games through which it is easy to slip and experience a real fall.
- Do not allow any compromises or concessions when struggling against temptations. Be strict and ruthless towards yourself. When the person fails to banish a seductive idea in time, he begins to cherish it in his imagination and then it quickly seizes his heart and enslaves his will. After that a fall is almost inevitable.
- However do not surrender even if you feel that you power is betraying you and sin is beginning to win. There is still a great instrument to your assistance — prayer with all of your heart. When there is not enough human power then God’s Grace comes to help. God is strong enough to rescue you even at the edge of an abyss. Call out to God from the depth of your heart: “God, have mercy on me!” or “My God, rescue me, the guilty one and do not let me sin!”