St. Paisios the Athonite: “The Devil Enters a Person Who Has Dirt in His Heart.” 

Speaking of human passions and the devil, Elder Paisios used to say,

“A person who deviates from God’s commandments is overcome by his passions. If a person voluntarily allows passions to act in him, there is no need for the devil to take part in this.

“Demons have their own “specialization areas”. They “tap” a person to find out where it hurts, seeking to identify his weak spots and thus to conquer him.

“We must be attentive, and close our windows and doors of our feelings for the devil. We should not leave any open cracks that he may use to crawl inside. These crevices and holes are our weak spots.

“If you leave the enemy even a small crack, he can squeeze in and harm you. “The devil enters a person who has dirt in his heart.”

“He will never go near a pure creation of God. If a person’s heart is freed from dirt, then the enemy flees and Christ returns. A pig grunts and leaves if it finds no dirt. In the same way, the devil does not come near a heart that has no impurity. After all, why would he want to get inside a pure and humble heart?

“Consequently, if we see that our house (the heart) has become an enemy dwelling, like a hut on chicken legs, we must immediately tear it down to make sure that our evil tenant leaves.

“If sin lives in a person for a long time, then, naturally, the devil acquires greater rights over this person.”

“Geronda, let’s say, a person used to live negligently and thereby gave the serpent rights over himself. Now he wants to improve and start living soberly. Does the devil still tempt him?”

“When a person turns to God, he receives from Him the strength, enlightenment and consolation necessary at the beginning of his path. At the same time, as soon as a person begins his spiritual struggle, the enemy unleashes a cruel war against him. This is when you need to show a little bit of endurance.

“Otherwise, how can you expect your passions to be eradicated, your old self to be put off and your pride to go away?

“However, when a person understands that he cannot do anything on his own, he humbly asks for the mercy of God and learns humility.

“The same thing happens when a person wants to get rid of a bad habit, such as smoking, drugs or alcohol. At first, he feels joy and gives up his habit while on the rise of neophyte enthusiasm.

“Then he sees others smoking, drinking and using drugs. This is when real temptations begin. If a person wins this battle, it is not going to be difficult for him to give up his passions in the long run.

“To succeed, one needs to restrain himself a little and to work hard. The devil does his job, so why don’t we do ours? “

Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds
From the book With Pain and Love for Contemporary Man by the Holy Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain

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