The Satan seized Judas and taught him how to betray the Lord; Judas agreed and betrayed Jesus. The Satan entered Judas’s heart because the door was open. Our innermost is always locked; even the Lord always stands at the door and knocks. What is the key that unlocks that door? It’s affinity, inclination, and kinship. A person whose heart is inclined towards the Satan, opens his door for the Satan; a person whose heart is predisposed towards the Lord, opens his door for the Lord. The fact that it’s the Satan and not the Lord that enters your heart is your own fault. Don’t allow thoughts that please the Satan. Don’t listen to them. Don’t act on them. Don’t agree with them. The Satan will wander to and fro, and finally leave you alone. He doesn’t have any power over anyone. If he seizes a person, that’s only because that person yields to him.
Thoughts are the root of all evil. Don’t tolerate bad thoughts; that’s how you can effectively lock the door of your heart for the Satan. If you encounter bad thoughts, don’t worry: there isn’t anyone in this world who doesn’t, and it’s not a sin to actually have these thoughts. Drive them away, and that’s that; if they come again, drive them away again. Repeat when necessary. If you allow those thoughts to take root in your heart and begin to entertain them, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that you’ll gradually feel affinity with them. That will make them even stickier. Affinity will bring about bad intentions to do something bad. Those intentions, which aren’t defined yet, will mold into a certain shape and present a choice, agreement, and decision. That’s how a sin is committed!
The door of one’s heart is swung open. As soon as one agrees to sin, the Satan jumps in and starts to boss that person around. The poor soul is like a slave or as a beast of burden: it is driven to exhaustion doing obscene actions. If only that soul didn’t tolerate the bad thoughts from the start! Things would have worked out differently.
By St. Theophan the Recluse
Translated by The Catalog of Good Deeds