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. 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 in 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 and quickly revert to your old patterns.
There is a better, easier way: change your autopilot, let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.
This mental shift is called 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…the whole beautiful speedboat ride.
Rick Warren is Pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA and the author of ‘The Purpose Driven Life.’ www.rickwarren.com