Youth Corner

Practical Ways To Conquer Lust!

St. Isaac the Syrian says, “He who thinks that there exists a road to repentance other than prayer is deceived by the devil.” Without a doubt, it takes firm determination and conscious effort to overcome lustful thoughts and temptations, but we can’t do it without the grace of God. Therefore we pursue prayer first and foremost as our shield against temptation. Persevere in prayer daily as a
critical step for repentance and spiritual growth, confessing your weakness to God and asking for His grace to work in your heart to grant you repentance and
victory.

 

Having said this, there are several points that are very important in the struggle to overcome temptations of lust:

+ Cut the sinful thought off from the first moment, and don’t flirt with temptation.
Redirect your thoughts immediately with a firm determination to safeguard the
purity of your heart and mind. Determine ahead of time how you will react when
times of temptation come. Have a plan and stick to it, whether it be a specific
prayer, reciting a certain verse or psalm, etc… You can recite the Jesus Prayer
– “My Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God, have mercy upon me I the sinner.” Also
remind yourself of the beautiful feeling of God’s presence, and the bitter
feeling of being separated from God because of sin. Sometimes we overestimate
our strength and underestimate temptation, and hence fail to break sinful habits
because we allow ourselves to negotiate with temptation until we eventually fall
into sin just as before. Therefore, never let your guard down and even when you
have overcome temptation a few times, thank God for His grace which enabled you
to do so, and expect the devil to continue plotting your downfall. Remember your
weakness and let your confidence be in the grace of God.

+ Be very
honest with your father of confession about your weaknesses and thoughts, just
as you are honest with God in your prayers. Regular confession and counseling
with the same father of confession is one of our most effective tools in
conquering sin by the grace of God.

+ Change the habits which lead to sin
and temptation, whether they be TV shows or websites, or friends/places. With a
firm determination to resist sin and cut yourself off from evil, so that you may
belong wholeheartedly and faithfully to God alone, avoid the sources of
temptation to the best of your ability. Part of a sincere struggle to repent is
to diligently avoid all avenues which lead to sin and to replace these
habits/friends/sources with the good, otherwise the emptiness may result in a
return to the former. So fill your time with the characteristics of a holy life
– spiritual reading and Bible reading, listening to sermons, attending church
meetings, learning hymns, service, etc…

+  Self control and discipline
are critical for a Christian life. Therefore, pursue discipline in all aspects
of your life – controlling your tongue, your temper, how much you eat (even when
we’re not fasting), etc… If I try to balance discipline with some indulgence in
my life, I will undermine my effort. Therefore we need to practice self control
in all aspects of our lives, not just our thoughts. And we know that fasting is
an indispensable spiritual practice intended to grant us control over our bodies
and our desires, so use this tool with the guidance of your father of
confession.

+  Do not permit yourself to fall into despair, no matter
what happens. We are weak by nature, so do not despair because of lustful
desires or inclinations, but struggle against them. Don’t allow the devil of
despair to make you lose hope. Remember that our Lord Himself said, “Those who
are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to
call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Mark 2:17). Believe in the
abundance of God’s love and mercy, and His desire for your salvation, knowing
that He is “longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that
all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9). Therefore, take our Lord’s mercy
as your shield and confess your weaknesses to Him, continuing to struggle
wholeheartedly against sin. Have confidence in the Blood of Christ which redeems
us and purifies us, and attend Liturgy and take Communion regularly.

“The
Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in mercy. He will not
always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with
us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as
the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who
fear Him; As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our
transgressions from us. As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities
those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are
dust.
” (Psalm 103)

May God grant us victory by His life-giving grace.

One thought on “Practical Ways To Conquer Lust!

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