And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (NLT)
Rick Warren explains it well in his book The Purpose Driven Life:
To change your life, you must change the way you think. Behind everything you do is a thought. Every behavior is motivated by a belief, and every action is prompted by an attitude. God revealed this thousands of years before psychologists understood it: “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.” (Prov. 4:23 – TEV)
Imagine riding in a speedboat on a lake with an automatic pilot set to go east. If you decide to reverse and head west, you have two possible ways to change the boat’s direction. One way is to grab the steering wheel and physically force it to head in the opposite direction from where the autopilot is programmed to go. By sheer willpower you could overcome the autopilot, but you would feel constant resistance. Your arms would eventually tire of the stress, you’d let go of the steering wheel, and the boat would instantly head back east, the way it was internally programmed.
This is what happens when you try to change your life with willpower: You say, “I’ll force myself to eat less ... exercise more ... quit being disorganized and late.” Yes, willpower can produce short-term change, but it creates constant internal stress because you haven’t dealt with the root cause. The change doesn’t feel natural, so eventually you give up, go off your diet, and quit exercising. You quickly revert to your old patterns.
There is a better and easier way: Change your autopilot-the way you think. The Bible says, “Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.“ (Rom. 12:2b - NLT) Your first step in spiritual growth is to start changing the way you think. Change always starts first in your mind. The way you think determines the way you feel, and the way you feel influences the way you act. Paul said, “There must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes.” (Eph. 4:23-NLT)
To be like Christ you must develop the mind of Christ. The New Testament calls this mental shift repentance, which in Greek literally means “to change your mind.” You repent whenever you change the way you think by adopting how God thinks – about yourself, sin, God, other people, life, your future, and everything else. You take on Christ’s outlook and perspective."