Eighteen years ago, things were looking very bad for what is today the richest and most valuable company in the world. In 1997, Apple was on corporate life support. The media was openly talking about the end of a once-promising enterprise, together with its ground-breaking Mac computer.
Then things changed. In a desperate move, Apple brought back the man whom they had ousted a few years earlier, the now legendary Steve Jobs. When he returned, Jobs didn’t bring just money, capital and managerial expertise. He brought the life-resuscitating element of thinking differently to effect positive change.
The turning point—where Apple rose from its death bed—is widely considered to be a famous advertising campaign that summed up Jobs’ vision for Apple: Think Different. A series of ads, including a now-again viral TV spot (see YouTube video below) that silently profiled people who had made a major difference in human affairs, read like this:
“Here’s to the crazy ones…people who pushed humanity forward…the misfits, the rebels, the trouble-makers…the ones who see things differently…you can’t ignore them, because they push the human race forward…the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”
What does this have to do with you and leading a Christian life?
While this was a worldly advertising campaign, the irony is this: God commands us as Christians to “think differently.”
Consider the famous words of Peter in his first sermon: “Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’” (Acts 2:38, emphasis added throughout). When He began His ministry Jesus Himself told His followers: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark1:15).
What does that word “repent” mean? Some may think it’s a bit too “religious-sounding,” wrapped in either syrupy or harsh language.
What’s the reality? The Greek word translated into “repent” is metanoeo. This Greek work actually combines two words: meta—which means “changed after” and neieo—which means “think.” What do the two words together mean?
Literally: “Think differently.”
We find this biblical command to “repent,” to literally think differently, reflected everywhere in the Bible. Outlining the benefits of humility, Paul instructs us to “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). He also directs us to bring “every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). In the same vein, Peter tells us to “Prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled: set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:13, New International Version).
When Israel went through the Exodus and spies were sent into the Promised Land to scout it out, the run-of-the-mill thinking by most in the spy mission was fear and pessimism. Not so with Caleb!
Here’s the compliment paid to Caleb by God:
“But, as surely as I live and as surely as my glory fills the whole earth, I make this promise: All these men saw my glory and the miracles I did in Egypt and in the desert, but they disobeyed me and tested me ten times. So not one of them will see the land I promised to their ancestors. No one who rejected me will see that land. But my servant Caleb thinks differently and follows me completely. So I will bring him into the land he has already seen, and his children will own that land” Numbers 14:21-24 (New Century Version).
During a critical time where Paul was defending himself in a Roman court by explaining the meaning and purpose of humanity, the Roman official regarded Paul as “crazy” and interrupted: “‘You are out of your mind, Paul!’ he shouted. ‘Your great learning is driving you insane’” (Acts 26:24, New International Version). The Apple ad salutes the “misfits.” The Bible declares that “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty” (1 Corinthians 1:27). Further, the ad discusses trouble-makers and rebels. We read in Acts 17:6 that “these men [Paul and Silas] who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here” (NIV). Some translations say they “have turned the world upside down.”
And as we who are Christians fulfill our commission of proclaiming the Gospel—the good news of the Kingdom of God—“to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:7), literally the entire planet, we indeed truly are the “people who pushed humanity forward.”
What about you? Are you ready to “think differently” and change the world?
As I write, we are preparing to enter a biblical season that resets Bible-believing Christians. We in the United Church of God will shortly follow Paul’s directive, “Let us keep the Festival,” which is a direct reference to the Christian application of the biblical Days of Unleavened Bread (1 Corinthians 5:8, NIV). This seven-day festival gives us the spiritual tools to embrace the mind of Christ and to “think differently.”
It is an amazing time of changed and different thinking from those around you. If you have not already studied this, I invite to you read for yourself the exciting truth in our Bible study guide God’s Holy Day Plan—The Promise of Hope for All Mankind. Or better yet, download it instantly at www.ucg.org/booklet/gods-holy-day-plan-promise-hope-all-mankind/.
Join us today—think differently, and change the world!
P.S. How have you started “thinking differently” and embracing the mind of Christ? I invite you to share your story with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.