Faith fighting goes back to the earliest Christ-followers. Paul of Tarsus wrote: “Fight the good fight of faith.” Real faith fighting takes place in the human heart, not in the outward environment or circumstances. Faith fighting strives to be an inner winner and to overcome all of our internal enemies such as, anxiety, fears, insecurities, temptations, frustration, depression, anger, lust, pride, resentment, bitterness, etc.
Symeon The New Theologian who lived between 949 and 1022, said that many of our problems come from “failing to observe the enemies who attack from within.”
He also wrote: “Our holy fathers abandoned all other forms of spiritual labor and concentrated wholly on this one task of guarding the heart. Some of the fathers have called this practice stillness of the heart, others the guarding of the heart, others watchfulness and rebuttal, and others again the investigation of thoughts and the guarding of the intellect. But all of them worked the earth of their own heart.”
Symeon also gives some instructions about faith fighting: “The first step toward the light is to curtail the passions (internal evil desires), that is to say, guard the heart . . . the intellect repulses all distracting thoughts that encircle the heart attempting to get in, and it rebuffs them through attentiveness.
“From whatever side a distractive thought may appear, before it has come to completion and assumed a form, the intellect immediately drives it away and destroys it with the invocation of Jesus Christ. From this point on the intellect begins to be full of rancour against the demons and, rousing its natural anger against its noetic (spiritual) enemies, it pursues them and strikes them down.
Overcome your inner enemies! Become a world-class faith fighter. After you win within, without a doubt you will also win without!
Symeon The New Theologians is one of the many Eastern Orthodox Christ-followers whose writings are included in The Philokalia – a collection of ancient Christian writings.