Do not be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12:2 (NKJV)
Before we can change what we do, we have to come to believe or think differently, and that requires a renewing of the mind; in essence, a change of heart. We have to begin to believe that some of the things we think about, desire and do are sinful. Then we have to want to change those things and we have to want to be changed.
Furthermore, we have to understand that we cannot change ourselves. We cannot think enough positive thoughts to change our heart; we cannot be propped up with enough positive self-talk or self-esteem to be changed.
The only way a person can truly be changed is by the Holy Spirit as He makes known to us the Word of God. The Word of God must be read and engrafted in the heart.
As the Word is read, the Spirit makes it alive in us. Our minds are changed by what is read, our hearts are changed by what is read and as our heart is changed we begin to experience a desire to change our actions.
Unless the desire to change comes from within, from the heart it will not last. Unless the change is based on the Word of God it is humanistic and temporary. We can see this in the failure of the multiple methods of the self-help movement.
When mind change begins to take place we see our sin differently. We begin to see it through Godly eyes and our heart is grieved by the things our flesh desires. We realize there are some things that must be eliminated right away because they do not glorify God. In addition, the consequences of continuing in these habits of the heart can be devastating.
If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.
Matthew 5:29-30 (NASB)
Do you understand that certain problems must be dealt with radically? Of course, I am not advocating self-mutilation or self-harm. The point I am making is that the alcoholic, makes a commitment to cease drinking and remove everything from his or her life that tempts them to drink. It can also mean a commitment to detoxification and the cleansing it provides.
For the pornography user, it means safeguards and accountability for computer usage. It may mean driving a different way home from work least one is tempted by the adult video stores on the former route.
This is called Radical Amputation and it includes doing whatever it takes to stop the destructive behavior. Of course you must also understand that the reason you desire to sin it in the first place is that the heart is wicked. What guides and motivates our heart is what will change our actions and the resulting fruit. When our heart is set on pleasing “self,” our thoughts and actions are not naturally going to be like God’s.
When our thoughts, beliefs, and desires are set on glorifying God, there will be appropriate actions and God-honoring consequences.
But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God-who chose you to be his children-is holy. For he himself has said, “You must be holy because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15-16 (NLT)
The first and the great work of a Christian is about his heart. Do not be content with seeming to do well in “outward acts” while your heart is bad, and you are a stranger to the greater internal heart duties. Practicing holiness brings glory to God. Glorifying God should be the goal of our life.