I want to continue to make notes for myself from How To Say No to a Stubborn Habit by Erwin Lutzer. This isn't meant to be a full outline -- just an exercise to help me learn and internalize the truths I have read. I'd highly recommend the book, retitled now Winning the Inner War.
Chapter 2 is "The Ground Rules." Dr. Lutzer assrts that before we can change, we must accept three principles:
1. God is good.
Satan's implication in the first temptation of Eve was that God was withholding something from her and therefore didn't have her best interests at heart. Dr. Lutzer then lists several examples of how temptations arise for us in the same way. The focus on what we can't have robs us of the blessing of all that we can. If we question whether God's way is the best, we won't be motivated to change.
We have to remember that "No matter how many pleasures Satan offers you, his ultimate intention is to ruin you." When we cling to our pleasures rather than God's will, we're not on;y displeasing God, we're destroying ourselves. I did a study on "my own way" from Scripture once and posted the results on my main blog here. I need to review that often when I am so tempted to cling to my own way and desires or when I think they are not so very bad.
On the other hand, Dr. Lutzer says, when we accept that God is good, we can more easily surrender to Him, knowing His way is perfect, and we're more willing to cooperate with Him.
2. We are fully responsible for our behavior.
Ever since Adam and Eve, people tend to place blame for their own actions on others, their circumstances, genes, even God. Though we may be affected by each of those, ultimately we are responsible for our choices. "Behavioral patterns are not caused by your circumstances but rather by your response to your circumstances."
Those this may be depressing to accept, "when you call something sin, there is the possibility of deliverance -- for Christ came to call sinners to repentance."
3. Deliverance is possible.
I Corinthians 10:13: There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
Hebrews 3:12: Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.