Lust: Waging war against the flesh
Since the eyes and the ears are the doors of the soul, an Orthodox Christian must not leave the body without attention. Unlike the religion of Gnosticism, which teaches the separation of soul and body, with the physical world being evil and something to be overcome, historic Christianity teaches the unity of the body and the soul, with the physical world being transformed and made anew in Christ. This means that, while caring about one’s soul, an Orthodox Christian must not leave the body without attention.
The body is given over to temptation, which is rooted in the mind. As Christians we know that we must never play with temptations, for in doing so we have already fallen half-way. Thus, an Orthodox Christian who takes his salvation seriously would never partake in seductive dances, or enter into flirtation as though it were a sport, for he would know this to be a dangerous game.
Temptations gain hold when we entertain dirty thoughts and ideas, sometimes by allowing our eyes and ears to entertain things that can overcome our will, causing us to fall. It is much easier to stop a temptation in the beginning than to do battle with a seductive idea once it has gained entry. A person who wants to prevent a burglary makes every effort to prevent a burglar from gaining entrance in the first place. Like taking precautions that will prevent a burglary, we must never allow ourselves to entertain temptations, for that would be like inviting a criminal into your home with the intent of trying to talk him out of stealing from you.
Many are convinced that sexual needs are so insurmountable in strength, as to make it impossible to resist. This is only the case when we habitually give into the passions, and avoid using the tools given to us by the Church to bring our body into submission. If we observe the periods of fasting, especially the Wednesday and Friday days of abstinence, eat moderate amounts of food, and avoid the overuse of alcoholic and say no to drugs, we will have taken a big step forward in our struggle with lust. Remember, a healthy body contributes to the health of the soul.
Finally, it is good to take to heart the advice of St. Ephraim of Syrian: “Think about the good so as not to think about the bad.” Guard against spending time with people whose jokes and story-telling are occasions for sinful thoughts, and avoid bad company, for as we read in 1 Corinthians 15:33: “Bad company corrupts good character.”