Victory over sinful tendencies begins in the mind. We do what we first think about. Control that, and our actions will follow suit. Paul writes the following to the Corinthian Church:
Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. --2 Corinthians 10:5
A. W. Tozer writes:
What we think about when we are free to think about what we will-- that is what we are or will soon become. . . .
Too many have given over the area of the mind to fate. Worse many have not even considered that the mind can be controlled so do not make any effort. But certainly if our Lord has commanded us to love Him with "all of our mind," then He means for us to lay that on the altar of willing sacrifice as well as our bodies and spirits. Take over this fortress. One defeat opens the way for another more easily attained. But by the same token, one victory leads to another, for you have strengthened your resolve at least to that degree. Replace wrong thoughts with good right away. Some have suggested that when tempted by a thought, we have 5 seconds to resist. I've heard John Piper say 2 seconds! Point is that we CAN resist, but that opportunity must be grabbed right away. Let's go forth today, grabbing our thoughts for Christ, but not alone. Go with the Spirit of God!The best way to control our thoughts is to offer the mind to God in complete surrender. The Holy Spirit will accept it and take control of it immediately. Then it will be relatively easy to think on spiritual things, especially if we train our thought by long periods of daily prayer. Long practice in the art of mental prayer (that is, talking to God inwardly as we work or travel) will help to form the habit of holy thought. (Born After Midnight, 44, 46-47)
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. ” (Philippians 4:8)