Continuing on with my notes from How To Say No to a Stubborn Habit by Erwin Lutzer:
Chapter 4: Getting God's Perspective
"One reason why...people reverted back to their old behavior patterns is they misunderstood the full extent of their problem. True, they wanted victory, but they didn't understand how or why God would bring it about. They, like most of us, wanted to overcome a specific habit -- for their own benefit. They wanted to be free of the symptoms of their problem, but did not want a thorough examination that would reveal deeper problems in their lives which they were unwilling to face. The habits themselves were like the tip of the iceberg."
"Sinful habits are usually indicative of unresolved conflicts. we must always seek underlying causes rather than treating the symptoms. God uses our struggle with sin to diagnose our true condition. Temptation is His X-ray machine, discovering the hidden conflicts that need attention."
"The deeper issue we often avoid is our rebellion against God."
"To confess your sins means that you agree with God that you have sinned: it also means that you agree that the sin must be forsaken. Those who confess their sins, intending to repeat the same actions, are only partially repentant. Such incomplete repentance leads to a downward spiral of repeated failure. Confession means that you admit your sin and give God permission to remove it from your life. Of course, I am not saying that you will never commit the same sin again -- if so. none of us could claim forgiveness. But their needs to be a willingness to part with the sin, and a submission to God's verdict on the matter. Apart from such acknowledgment, your intentions are self-centered. You are inquiring how forgiveness will benefit you instead of considering how you have offended God."
"Temptation...gives you a clear-cut opportunity to declare your allegiance to Jesus Christ."
Lutzer suggests taking time to do an inventory of our lives, jotting down areas that need work, defining our attitudes, identifying what's really going on in our hearts. Then give ourselves and our problems over to Him, letting go of our perceived "rights." We have to realize that our ultimate goal is not just victory over sin, but coming to know and love God will all our hearts, soul, mind and strength..
It's a stunning thought to me that every time I choose my way instead of God, I am not loving Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength.