Romans 12:2 says, "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."
When we change our thinking we change ourselves.
I've been reading Extraordinary by John Bevere and I love his analogy that he uses in the book to explain renewing your mind...
Imagine being born the son of a king, heir to the throne of the kingdom you are destined to rule. But immediately following your birth, someone kidnaps you and takes you to a remote area in the countryside, far from the palace. As these scoundrels raise you, they repeatedly state that you were born in poverty and are a simpleton, a failure, and most importantly, a slave. What would be the outcome? Even though you're of royal descent, you'd grow up living, acting, talking, and thinking as a slave.
For years, your father, the king, has commissioned rescue parties to search continuously for you. One day, after almost two decades of combing the vast kingdom, one of the search parties locates and liberates you and delivers you home to the palace. There's a huge celebration because the heir to the throne has returned to his rightful place.
Though now in your rightful place in life, it would take extensive training and reprogramming to change your behavior patterns from a slave to an heir to the throne. Can you imagine your first day in the palace? You'd rise from bed and head out to the royal gardens and stalls to gather your food for breakfast. Upon your return to the palace with fruit, vegetables, and fresh milk, your attendants would question, "What are you doing, sir?"
"Just getting breakfast," you'd answer.
"But you have servants who do this," they would say, "including the royal chef, who makes the best dishes in the land. " Soon afterward you'd go to your room to make your bed, straighten the room, and wash your clothes in the bathtub. Again your attendants would question, "Sir, what are you doing?"
"I'm fixing up my room and cleaning my clothes."
"But you have housekeepers to clean your room and clothes," they'd say.
When you had been held captive, there was no choice in these matters, it was the only way you were permitted to live. You were forced to fetch your cruel master's food, eat leftover scraps, and clean their clothes--not to mention your own. You were a lowlife slave in every respect.
Your behavior in the palace that first day would be extreme but easily altered. It wouldn't be difficult to convince you to allow attendants to do your cleaning and cooking. However, what had been instilled in the fiber of your being for years would be more difficult to address. Your overall thought processes would still have to be tackled on deeper levels. The way you think, interact with people, and make decisions would all have to be confronted and changed. Your slave mentality would have to be peeled away layer by layer and replaced with a prince's mentality. Even though you're heir to the throne, on many levels you'd continue to live the way you'd been trained. Your subconscious would have to be reprogrammed if you were to think as a prince. You'd have to be taught your new identity and what it means to have a prince's resources. This would take time and effort.
How much time and effort will you put in to renewing your mind? Will you continue to let the world and your experiences determine how you think or will you let he Word of God determine how you think?