"Do not be shaped by this world; instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect." ~ Romans 12:2 (NCV)
If you want to have lasting change in your life, you need to refocus your mind. Specifically, you need to change your thought patterns from focusing on what you don’t want -- to focusing on what you do want. And this is why: Because what ever you focus on is what you move toward. Today’s verse gives us the blueprint to change our thought patterns --
“Do not conform …” How often do we let other people shape our lives? God doesn’t want you to be like someone else; he wants you to be the person he made you to be. So don’t copy, don’t conform, don’t try to be like anybody else.
“… any longer …” There are a lot of things you start off doing by copying others but then they turn into a habit.
“… the pattern of this world.” Pattern means the model of everything you’ve learned in life. If you want to change, you have to change your pattern or model of living that you learned in your life. You need to replace the old, unhealthy pattern with a new one modeled after the life of Christ.
“Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Transformed is the same as the word we use for metamorphosis, the process a caterpillar goes through to become a butterfly. In the same way, God wants to transform you into a completely new person by renewing your mind.
How does this happen? The Bible tells us in Ephesians 4:22-24, "You were taught to leave your old self—to stop living the evil way you lived before. That old self becomes worse, because people are fooled by the evil things they want to do. But you were taught to be made new in your hearts,to become a new person. That new person is made to be like God—made to be truly good and holy." (NCV)
This means you are going to have to do some putting off and you are going to have to do some putting on. And the putting off has to happen before the putting on. It’s just like trying on clothes in a department store. Before you can try on the new stuff, you have to take off the old stuff.
You’re going to have to let go of the old attitudes, the old thought patterns, the old images that you’ve been living with so you can put on the new garments God has for you to be renewed in a changed mind.