In daily life it is important that we remain constantly attentive to the indications God gives us about what we should do and the way we should do it. Even so we will not be able to free ourselves completely from bad thoughts; no one can, not even the most perfect. Perfection, however great, does not prevent man from being bothered by thoughts. But simply because of experience in spiritual life, what shook us deeply before becomes easier to overcome. In the desert, Christ opposed the temptations of the devil by immediate rejection, even giving theological basis for His answers. It is a lesson for us. Each time we have a bad thought, we should reject it immediately, and refuse to enter into converse with it. But this practice can only be assimilated by long ascetic effort, and by the action of grace in us. What does it mean to work out our salvation? It means that among all the things that we see in cosmic existence, we choose what is pleasing to God and separate ourselves from what goes against God. Then, little by little, we see our life changing. But be patient. God can, of course, visit us and in an instant open our eyes to eternity. But usually it is a labor of several years.
~Fr. Sophrony of Essex