Years ago I was ministering to a wonderful woman who struggled with using food as a comforter. By her own admission she had tried every diet known to mankind. She had worked every program, bought every weight loss plan available and still she struggled with the same number of pounds over and over again. She commented to me that she had enough clothes from every size she had been over the years to open a store. As she began to understand heart change she made this statement, "It is not that food is evil, it's my heart that's evil!"
When a counselee gets to this point I know that swift and lasting change is right around the corner! She has to realize that she is her own worst enemy in the battle, because it is a spiritual battle long before it is a material battle.
Another person once told me that her problem isn't her computer, it isn't the TV, it isn't external sources... "It is all within me."
It is so critical to realize that there is a necessary part in any process of change that includes the putting off of the old sinful patterns and putting on new and godly ones, but that is certainly not the crux of the issue. Radical amputation is certainly required, for it is foolish to expect habitual patterns to change without any effort but this cannot be the only measure taken.
Some people who are failing to change realize that they are not putting forth maximum effort in the process of change. One person said this, "I've been keeping one foot in both camps, and playing the 'hmm, which one do I like better today?' game." My counselee goes on to say that she was losing the battle because she was not fighting with everything she had.
"... and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:32 (NASB)
Fighting with everything means that you must stop telling yourself lies. I have blogged before on self-deception and how it keeps many people stuck in their sinful habits. When you lie to yourself you will find that you can easily justify your temptation which leads to those sinful behaviors. You really must stop lying to yourself about what is evil in your heart and life.
Confession of these sins will bring them into the light of day and disarm them, stripping them of a great portion of the power they seem to hold over you. Sin hates exposure for this very reason! Once it is brought out, recognized, and confessed to our loving Father in heaven you can begin to reject its pull on an opportunity/temptation by opportunity/temptation basis.
These are all aspects of the change of heart that I write about all the time in these blogs. As you realize and admit your sin, confess it as sin, and repent of the sin (make a change and go in a new direction), you will begin to see some success. But it cannot end there. There must be in concert with these actions a desire on the heart level to be transformed into someone who desires to honor and glorify God by how you live your life. As I have said so many times, this is a response to a true understanding of what God has done for you in Christ Jesus (Eph 1). When you begin to operate out of this paradigm you will make rapid and lasting changes both in heart and in practice.