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Close the Door to Bad Thoughts

[Heb. 7:18-25; Luke 21:37-22:8] Satan entered into Judas, and taught him how to betray the Lord; he agreed, and betrayed Him. Satan entered because the door was o­ pened for him. What is within us is always closed; the Lord Himself stands outside and knocks, that we might open. What causes it to open? It is opened by sympathy, predispo­ sition, or agreement. If all of this is inclined in the direction of the Lord, He enters. If satan enters, and not the Lord, the person himself is guilty.

If you do not allow thoughts pleasing to satan, if you do not sym­ pathize with them, or dispose your­ self to their suggestions and agree to do them, satan walks nearby and then leaves, for he is not given pow­ er over anyone. If he takes posses­ sion of anyone, it is because that person gives himself over in slavery to him. The source of all evil is one’s thoughts. Do not allow bad thoughts and you will forever close the door of your soul to satan. That bad thoughts come — what can you do? Nobody on the earth is without them; there is no sin here. Chase them away, and that will end every­ thing. If they come again, chase them away again — and so on for your entire life. When you accept thoughts and become engaged in them, it is not surprising that sym­ pathy toward them appears as well; then they become even more persis­ tent. After sympathy come bad in­ tentions either for these or other bad deeds. Vague intentions then define themselves by an inclination toward one thing or another. Choice, agreement and resoluteness set in, and then sin is within! The door of the heart is opened wide. As soon as agreement forms, satan jumps in and begins to tyrannize. Then the poor soul is driven weari­ somely like a slave or a pack-ani­ mal into doing indecent things. If it had not allowed bad thoughts, noth­ ing of the sort would have happen­ ed.

Saint Theophan the Recluse