Continuing on with my notes from How To Say No to a Stubborn Habit by Erwin Lutzer:
Chapter 7, The Renewing of Your Mind
The theme sentence of this chapter is, "Sinful habits cannot be broken without replacing them with righteous ones." Renouncing them is a good first step, but unless we fill the gap, they'll come right back.
In fact, when we try not to think of something, that's when we can't get our minds off of it. "Freedom comes from filling your mind with God's thoughts."
Romans 12:2: "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." "The difference between worldliness and godliness is a renewed mind."
II Corinthians 10:3-5: "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." This is a spiritual battle.
1. Identify the specific thoughts you want to replace.
2. Be prepared for the discipline of spiritual warfare.
3. Be prepared to memorize the Word of God, especially those dealing with your problem. (Psalm 119:11: "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.")
Begin the day dwelling on God's promises. Decide beforehand how you will respond when temptation strikes. "Obey the first promptings of the Holy Spirit." Then learn to switch topics of thought -- use the temptation as an alarm system to praise God," pray, sing a hymn, meditate on Scripture.
(Disclaimer: My purpose in jotting down these notes is not to post "the answer" so that people don't have to buy the book: on the contrary, I hope anyone struggling with persistent sin will buy the book. There is so much more there that is so rich. Rather, this is just an exercise for me to review what I have read and studied.)