Beloved, these words "persecute ourselves" may sound odd or even harsh. Let us remember for a moment that popular contemporary saying, "no pain, no gain". And so it is in our spiritual lives, training and excellence require real labor,

It is said that only a few find the narrow way that leads to life and that we must strive to enter by the narrow door. For many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able (Luke 13:24).
The expanation is to be found precisely in our unwillingness to persecute ourselves.

Tito Colliander
"Way of the Ascetics"