Q: I want very much to correct myself, but I keep getting distracted by the yearning of the passions. What can I do to overcome them?
A: Persist in your desire and the Almighty God will grant you according to your heart; for the beginning of the virtues and their source is one’s disposition, one’s desire for good in the Lord. A person cannot overcome the passions on his own. This is the work of the right hand of the Most High, the action of the power of God. On our part we have only to preserve intact the holy disposition given us by God, and, in keeping with it, offer our efforts to attain the land of passionlessness. The Most High, beyond doubt, will perfect the effort of the one who desires this. So, if you desire to rise from the tomb of the passions, then always keep your mind attentive to this; take care for this, and have unwavering action and zeal. Hope in God, Who can manifest His power in our weakness through His grace, and you will be saved.
Elder Leonid of Optina
"A Disciples Questions and Replies"