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 12:2) 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)
Warren, Rick, The Purpose Driven Life. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002, p. 181-182.