Evil does not exist by nature, nor is any man naturally evil, for God made nothing that was not good. When in the desire of his heart someone conceives and gives form to what in reality has no existence, then what he desires begins to exist. We should therefore turn our attention away from the inclination to evil and concentrate it on the remembrance of God; for good, which exists by nature, is more powerful than our inclination to evil. The one has existence while the other has not, except when we give it existence through our actions.
St. Diadochos of Photiki
One of the saints said : ‘ If you wish to bear malice, bear malice against the demons, and if you wish to be hostile, be always hostile to the body. The flesh is a deceitful friend, and when pampered rises against you all the more.’ And: ‘ Bear enmity to the body and wage war against the belly.’
St. Hesychius of Jerusalem; On Sobriety and Prayer
Do not despond in the time of violent temptations, afflictions, or sicknesses, or at
obstacles arising from the disturbance of the enemy; all this is the reproof and chastisement of the righteous Lord, Who trieth the hearts and reins, for your cleansing, arousing, and correction, for burning out the thorns of carnal passions. And therefore do not complain if you sometimes suffer greatly. Do not think of the suffering, but of the blessed consequences of this chastisement, and the health of the soul. What would you not do for the health of your body? Still more must you bear everything for the health and salvation of your soul, which has eternal life.
St. John of Kronstadt
The Saviour deigned to become incarnate, not only in order to save us when sins and
passions have already overcome us, when we are entangled in them, but also in order to
save us, at our prayer, when sins and passions are as yet only striving to enter into us, when they attack us. We must not slumber nor be disheartened when the passions attack us; on the contrary, this is the very time to be on the watch, to take courage and pray to Christ not to let us fall into sin. It is not the time to save a house from fire, when the fire has already spread, but rather when the flame has just appeared. It is the same with the soul. The soul is the house, and the passions the fire. “Neither give place to the Devil.”(Eph. 4:27)
St. John of Kronstadt
Abba Daniel also said, ‘The body prospers in the measure in which the soul is weakened, and the soul prospers
in the measure in which the body is weakened.’
-Collected Sayings of the Desert Fathers
Abba Moses said: “Strength, for a person who desires to acquire virtues, consists in not losing heart when he happens to fall, but in continuing once more upon his way. Not to fall is characteristic only of Angels.”
The demons try to undermine your inward resolution by buffeting your souls with an untold variety of temptations. Yet out of these many tribulations a garland is woven for you; Christ’s power ‘comes to its fullness in us in our weakness’ (2 Cor. 12:9). It is usually when our situation is most gloomy that the grace of the Spirit flowers within us. ‘Light has shone in darkness for the righteous’ (Ps. 112:4. LXX) – if, that is, ‘we hold fast to our confidence and the rejoicing of our hope firmly to the end’ (Heb. 3:6).
St. John of Karpathos to the monks of India