Yesterday morning I attended a systematic theology class for adults on the topic of sin—depravity, the problem of evil, etc. The teacher closed with a discussion of how to mortify (kill/defeat) sin in our lives. He said it is possible that God might allow us to be defeated by sin because our motives for defeating it are wrong. We need to fight the fight against sin for God, not just to eliminate the fruits of sin in our lives that we do not like.
The speaker referred in the broader context to John Owen's On the Mortification of Sin in Believers. I do not know if Owen discusses this particular concept, and I failed to find out from the speaker before I returned home. What's more, no biblical text comes to my mind that specifically proves the point.
What I do know is that he made me think about something. Are my efforts towards sanctification in themselves a demonstration of self-centeredness, or they an act of worship? Even the plowing of the wicked is sin. What about my own?