I think there are a lot of times that we believe, although I'm not sure how we logic it out in our brains, that we can control sin. Maybe we don't call it sin in our heads, which is another blog and issue all together, but I'm talking about whatever that temptation we face that we believe is easily controlled if "only we have enough self-control." But whatever we call it, let's be honest and call it sin. We get this idea that we can control sin and that we don't need God to resist it.
I've been reading out of the book of Judges right now for my quiet time and noticed that this has been the take on sin for quite sometime. When God gave the promise land to the Israelites He commanded them to drive the people living there out of the land (many were to be destroyed), to not make covenants with them and to destroy their alters. However, we see (starting in Judges 1:19-36) the people Israel fail to drive the Canaanites out of the land and instead take them as slaves.
Judges 1:28 says, "When the Israelites grew stronger, they forced the Canaanites to work as slaves, but they never did drive them completely out of the land." (emphasis added)
The truth of the matter is, when the Israelites grew strong enough that they felt they could run things themselves (pride), they made the decision to take the Canaanites as slaves (because they believed they could control them) and ignored the command of God.
So what then were the consequences of this disobedience? Judges 2:1-3 say, "1 The angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said to the Israelites, “I brought you out of Egypt into this land that I swore to give your ancestors, and I said I would never break my covenant with you. 2 For your part, you were not to make any covenants with the people living in this land; instead, you were to destroy their altars. But you disobeyed my command. Why did you do this? 3 So now I declare that I will no longer drive out the people living in your land. They will be thorns in your sides, and their gods will be a constant temptation to you.”
Verse 3 tells us that the Canaanites would be a thorn in the Israelite's sides and their gods a constant temptation to them. Essentially, the Canaanites would be a constant problem for the Isrealites and their way of life would be a continuous temptation, ever drawing them away from God.
They chose to disobey God because they believed they were capable of controlling the source of temptation, without God. Eventually this decision will lead to Israels downfall (on more than one occasion).
They were so pompous, so prideful, so disobedient and we think (somehow) we're different. We've been making that same decision ever since. How many times do we know (with certainty) that God is trying to remove a source of sin from our lives and we either completely resist him on it, until it consumes us or so ruins things that we have no choice to surrender it to Him. Or we achieve some victory (whether it be large or small, many or few) in it and we assume that it was our own doing and we allow bits of it to stay, because "we have the self-control" to resist it. Truth be told, we don't have the power (apart from God) to resist temptation or beat sin by ourselves.
When God wants to take something completely out of your life, the only option is COMPLETELY.